Heat 104, Pacers 101
MIAMI (AP)—They wasted most of a 16-point lead in the final eight minutes, a performance that would ordinarily leave the Miami Heat angry and frustrated.
This time, though, the only postgame emotion in the Heat locker room was relief.
“We got lackadaiscal, but we won a game,” Dwyane Wade said. “That’s all we care about.”
Wade scored 33 points, including a game-saving layup with 4.3 seconds left, plus added eight assists and six rebounds as the Heat held on to beat the trade-depleted Indiana Pacers 104-101 on Thursday night.
Jason Williams added 20 points and eight assists for the Heat, who led 91-75 with 8:05 left before the Pacers—who had only 10 players in uniform—got within two with a 23-9 run. But Wade hit a pair of free throws with 24.5 seconds left—and after Shawne Williams hit a 3-pointer with 13.8 seconds left—drove full-court for the clinching score.
Danny Granger had a career-high 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting for Indiana, but came up short on a potential game-tying 3-point try as the final buzzer sounded.
“If we had one more minute that game would have gone into overtime, we would have won,” Granger said.
The Pacers acquired Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod from the Warriors for Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Josh Powell and Al Harrington, but none of the new players were available Thursday.
The Heat were playing without Shaquille O’Neal for the 32nd straight game while he continues recovering from knee surgery—he will not play in Philadelphia on Friday, either, but his return is expected soon. Alonzo Mourning had 14 points, Jason Kapono had 11 and Michael Doleac matched a season-high with 10 for Miami, which beat Indiana for only the third time in 17 meetings.
“We won. A win is a win is a win,” Heat interim coach Ron Rothstein said. “They do a great job against us, for whatever reason, of not going away. They don’t go away.”
Indiana was within 11 points midway through the final quarter when Wade drove for a reverse layup and a 93-80 lead. The reigning NBA finals MVP, who has already missed six full games this year with a sprained right wrist, appeared to injure his right hand as he tumbled to the court—yet stayed in the game.
They needed him late, after the Pacers made a big run.
Jeff Foster had consecutive three-point plays in a 31-second span—the last with 2:28 left—to cap a 10-0 burst that drew Indiana to 96-92. But Jason Williams hit consecutive jumpers, the last with 1:03 left after Granger made a pair of free throws, to restore a six-point margin.
One of Williams’ jumpers came after Indiana was called for a backcourt violation, but the Pacers contended that the ball went off Mourning’s leg.
“I know the officials were trying to get them right,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “I know that they were wrong but I’m not going to say anything about that because I know they will take more heat from their bosses than they will from anything that’s said in the paper.”
Miami attacked the rim early with five of its first six baskets coming on either dunks or layups. The Heat shot 65 percent in the opening half and built a 55-49 lead at the break, after shooting a franchise-record 84.2 percent in the second quarter.
Miami opened the third quarter on a 13-3 run to open a 68-52 lead, and took a 85-70 lead into the fourth, before the Pacers outscored the Heat 31-19 in the fourth.
“You don’t feel good about losing but you’ve got to feel good about the effort, considering we came in undermanned,” Jermaine O’Neal said.
Granger’s previous career high was 25 points, set last month in a win over the New York Knicks. … Indiana’s new players are expected to be available Saturday when the Pacers host the Knicks. … Miami has won five of its last six overall and is back to .500 (9-9) at home. … The Pacers lost for only the third time in their last nine trips to Miami. … The Heat have shot 50 percent or better in four of their last five games. … Indiana is 1-11 on the road when trailing after three quarters.