Heat 100, Pacers 96
Wade scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, plus got a steal and found James Posey for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:29 left that sparked the Heat to a 100-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers—a game where the defending NBA champions rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 4:02.
The Heat made seven of their final eight shots, closing the game on a 16-5 run.
“We were very fortunate to win,” Heat coach Pat Riley said. “It took a lot of big defensive plays at the end. It took some great offensive plays by Dwyane, a big shot by Pose, and we get the win.”
Shaquille O’Neal scored 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting and Posey had 18 on 6-for-6 shooting—making all five of his 3-point tries—for the Heat, who beat Indiana for only the fourth time in their last 20 meetings.
“We shouldn’t even (have) been in that position,” O’Neal said. “We have to stop having lapses, stop losing leads. But we fought out a tough one.”
“Anything can happen,” Dunleavy said. “We have three games left. We might as well play them and keep score. We’re still alive. Who knows what’s going to happen with the rest of these teams the rest of the way?”
Wade simply took over late for the Heat, after surviving a nasty fall in the third quarter. He was dribbling along the left sideline when he was pushed by Dunleavy and wound up sailing over the first row of courtside seats. Wade used his left arm—the shoulder he injured seven weeks ago—to brace his fall, but got up without a problem.
“I knew what I was going to get myself into,” Wade said. “It was all in slow motion for me. I saw this older couple and I said, ‘No, I don’t want to hit them.’ I didn’t want to hit them. As scary as it was, I didn’t want to hit them.”
Jeff Foster, Troy Murphy and Shawne Williams all had 10 points for Indiana, which was without point guard Jamaal Tinsley (sore right elbow) for the fifth straight game. Jermaine O’Neal was held to six points on 2-for-13 shooting and sat silently at his locker for several minutes after the game, head down.
“I picked the worst game to have a 2-for-13 night,” he said.
Indiana missed its first eight shots and trailed 26-13 after Alonzo Mourning’s hook with 26 seconds left in the first quarter, before rallying to get within 53-46 at the half.
Miami gave Indiana eight points off turnovers in the second quarter, and kept the lead primarily because of Posey’s spark off the bench. He hit all five of his shots in the quarter—four from 3-point range—for 14 points in the period.
After their 0-for-8 start, the Pacers shot 58 percent (23-for-40) over the next 25 minutes and pulled into a 67-all tie on Dunleavy’s reverse layup with 3:35 left in the third. There were two more ties later in the third, before Murphy went to Indiana’s weapon of choice—the 3-pointer—with 1 second left in the period, putting the Pacers up 74-71.
Murphy hit another 3-pointer—then Indiana’s ninth in 12 tries on the night — to put his team up 79-73 with 10:16 left. But the Pacers missed each of their last five attempts from beyond the arc, and Miami pulled off its comeback.
“I feel bad for the guys,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “The way they battled, to have it happen like this, it’s very tough.”
The Heat shot 71 percent in the first quarter, and that didn’t even include a 70-foot heave by Eddie Jones that swished just after the buzzer. … Carlisle and referee James Capers collided in the third quarter. Capers was running downcourt and Carlisle appeared to be a bit inside the sideline. … Indiana backup forward Ike Diogu committed two fouls within eight seconds early in the second quarter, then picked up his third after being on the floor for only 2:26. He fouled out in nine minutes. … The Heat used their 18th different starting lineup. … Terrell Owens watched from one baseline and Hollywood stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas sat courtside, a few seats away from former Heat center Rony Seikaly—who made his AVP Tour beach volleyball debut earlier Friday, losing in a qualifying match for this weekend’s Miami Open.