NBA Game Summary - Indiana at Miami|
(Friday, April 11th)
Final Score: Miami 98, Indiana 86
Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The road to the Eastern Conference title
appears to be headed through South Beach.
LeBron James scored a game-high 36 points and the Miami Heat surprisingly blew
out the rival Indiana Pacers, 98-86, on Friday in the finale of the season
series between last year's conference finals combatants.
The outcome did not determine the East's top seed, but Miami now controls its
own fate with winnable games against the Hawks, Wizards and 76ers remaining.
Indiana, which sits a half-game behind the two-time defending champions, hosts
the Thunder before a road tilt against Orlando ends its regular season.
Despite being without Dwyane Wade for a ninth straight game because of a
hamstring injury, the Heat pulled away courtesy of a lopsided third quarter.
James scored 13 of his points in the frame, which saw the Heat turn a three-
point halftime cushion into a lead that grew to 23 points.
"The third quarter was too much for us to overcome," Pacers head coach Frank
Vogel said. "Give the Heat a lot of credit, their defensive pressure was
extraordinary and they played a terrific basketball game."
Mario Chalmers finished with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, while
Udonis Haslem netted 11 points with nine boards in the resounding win.
The crushing loss added to Indiana's recent swoon, one that included Vogel
benching his starters in a lead-up game to Friday's clash. Paul George and
David West were the only starters to respond with double-digit scoring
efforts, totaling 22 and 18 points, respectively.
Roy Hibbert was limited to five points on 2-of-6 shooting, and the 7-foot-2
center only grabbed one rebound in nearly 34 minutes of playing time.
A back-and-forth first half was a distant afterthought when Miami opened the
third quarter with 16 consecutive points.
Chalmers got things started with a 3-pointer, Haslem chipped in with two
putbacks and James scored seven points during the game-altering run. James'
deep jumper with a hand in his face and a foot on the 3-point line stretched
the Heat's lead to 61-42, deflating the Pacers to the point of calling three
timeouts in the first six minutes of the quarter.
"The first half was a heck of a half ... Our defense was on point, with the
deflections, the pressure, the rotations. In the second half, we just
continued with that pressure and finally broke it open," Heat head coach Erik
The margin grew to a healthy 23 points later in the frame, and one final
Indiana push -- a 13-0 surge that bled into the fourth quarter -- cut the
deficit to a manageable nine points at 76-67.
Miami, though, answered with nine in a row with James on the bench, and the
hosts cruised over the final eight minutes.
The Pacers, inept on offense during a 4-8 stretch over their previous 12
games, came out of the gate and made seven of their first 10 shots.
James kept the Heat close with 14 points in a first quarter that had seven
lead changes and five ties and ended with Indiana in front 25-23.
Both defenses showed up in the second quarter, with Miami forcing seven
turnovers and Indiana limiting the Heat to 36.8 percent shooting. Still, the
Heat got to the foul line 10 times and made eight free throws to head into the
break with a slim 45-42 advantage.
Indiana holds the tiebreaker over the Heat should they tie due to splitting
the four-game season series and holding a better conference record ...
Haslem's first offensive rebound moved him past Alonzo Mourning for first
place on the Heat's all-time list with 1,506 ... The Pacers have been
outrebounded in seven straight games, with Miami owning a 40-31 edge on Friday
... The Pacers have lost six straight regular season road games to the Heat
and have not won in Miami since Nov. 22, 2010 ... Miami forced 16 turnovers
and only committed nine.
04/12 00:48:30 ET