Pacers 95, Heat 90

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—The Indiana Pacers continue to do things the hard way.

For the second straight game, the Pacers found themselves trailing by double-digits in the second half. This time, they were able to overcome the deficit and defeat Miami 95-90 on Wednesday night.

Ron Artest led Indiana with 24 points and eight rebounds, and Jermaine O’Neal added 17 points and eight boards.

Dwyane Wade led Miami with 29 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, but he tied a career high with 10 turnovers.

Miami led 54-52 at halftime, and had increased the margin to 69-58 in the third quarter when Udonis Haslem was called for a technical foul. The Pacers outscored the Heat 18-3 the rest of the period to take a 76-72 lead. Haslem finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Pacers trailed Philadelphia by 20 points in the third quarter of a 111-109 loss last Saturday. O’Neal said the team will get embarassed later in the season if they keep waiting until the end of games to start playing hard.

“Everybody’s still trying to find their way right now,” O’Neal said. “When teams get in their formats, we’re going to be in trouble if we don’t get focused. Hopefully, when they get to that point, we’re rolling.”

Miami had the ball with a chance to tie in the closing seconds. Antoine Walker missed a 3-pointer with seven seconds left. Indiana’s Stephen Jackson rebounded, was fouled, and made two free throws to seal the Pacers’ second win over the Heat in less than a week.

Miami center Shaquille O’Neal sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter of the first game against the Pacers and hasn’t played since. His replacement, Alonzo Mourning, fouled out of Wednesday’s game with two minutes remaining and finished with eight points, seven rebounds and seven blocks.

Wade tried to pick up the slack for the Heat. He made a jumper with 1:06 remaining to give Miami a 90-89 lead. He was tightly guarded on the Heat’s final possession and passed to Walker, who missed the 3-pointer from the left corner.

“That is the look we wanted,” Wade said. “It was either for me or Antoine. If they came to me, I was going to kick it to him and he would be open for a good look at a three. Just didn’t hit it.”

Artest struggled from the free throw line until it mattered most. He made just three of eight in the first three quarters, but made two with 53 seconds left to give the Pacers a 91-90 lead. After Wade missed a jumper, Indiana’s Sarunas Jasikevicius scored on a layup with 14 seconds remaining to increase the Pacers’ lead to 93-90.

Jasikevicius played the entire fourth quarter in place of starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley. The 29-year-old rookie from Lithuania didn’t expect to have such a significant role in the outcome.

“I didn’t want that,” he said. “The ball just ended up in my hands. I had to make something happen with it.”

Indiana made 18 of 28 free throws the first three quarters, but was 9-of-10 in the fourth.

The Pacers gained more respect for the Heat because they played so well without their center.

“Miami is still a tough team without Shaq, and Wade proved that,” Jackson said. “We had to grind it out in the end to get the win.”

Notes

Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James got a standing ovation when introduced between the first and second quarters. He ran for 103 yards in the Colts’ 40-21 win over New England on Monday night.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Miami
D. Wade D. Wade
11-24,  29 Pts
11 Rebs, 6 Assists
 Indiana
R. Artest R. Artest
8-19,  24 Pts
8 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists