C.J. Miles' 3-pointers propel Pacers

Guard's 28 points, including 15 on five 3-pointers, lead Pacers to much-needed home victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

C.J. Miles led a 3-point barrage to keep the Indiana Pacers’ shot at a playoff spot very much alive Sunday night.

The guard scored a game-high 28 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead the Pacers to a 104-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers shot a season-best 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from 3-point range as Miles made five-of-six and rookie Damjan Rudez hit both of his attempts.

“It was a great game playing against a great team with great players that made plays,” Miles said in quotes posted on Pacers.com. “I think it was a fun game from the fan’s standpoint to watch, us going at each other and making big plays.”

Indiana improved to 5-0 when wearing the Flo-Jo retro uniforms of the 1990s designed by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, a U.S. Track & Field Star.

And the Pacers (32-41) stayed close in the push for a postseason berth, tied for ninth with the Boston Celtics, one-half game behind the Brooklyn Nets (32-40) for the eighth and final Eastern Conference postseason berth.

“I think we really badly needed a win and wanted a win,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “They raised their level.”

The Miami Heat (34-49) are seventh and the Milwaukee Bucks (36-37) are sixth. The Charlotte Hornets (31-41) are one-half game behind the Pacers and Celtics. And the Detroit Pistons aren’t mathematically eliminated although they would need help down the stretch.

The Celtics own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pacers, which makes these remaining nine games even more important. And the Pacers played inspired in sweeping the two-game season series from the Mavericks (45-29), who were without injured leading scorer Monta Ellis.

Miles’ 3-pointer with one minute remaining proved to be the clinching shot. He then sank two free throws in the final seconds.

Just as importantly, Miles scored 14 of his team’s first 22 points in the opening quarter as the Pacers snapped a dubious streak of being outscored in the first quarter in the last 10 games. They had a 33-27 lead after one.

Dallas enjoyed a six-point lead at halftime, though, before the Pacers rallied to trail by one point entering the final quarter.

The game stayed close until the final minutes, when Miles hit another clutch 3-pointer and the Mavericks managed only one two-point basket.

Pacers point guard George Hill and center Roy Hibbert each had 14 points. Forward David West and reserve guard Rodney Stuckey each contributed 10 points.

Forward Chandler Parsons led the Mavericks with 27 points. Dirk Nowitzki had 19 and Rajon Rondo 17.

The next four games could be most telling for the playoff race as the Pacers play other teams in the hunt. Indiana travels to Brooklyn Tuesday and Boston Wednesday, then returns home to host Charlotte on Friday and Miami on Sunday.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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