Pacers 87, Heat 77By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Tue, Jan 8, 2013 10:10 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS -- It wasn't the playoff game, but the Indiana Pacers showed they can hang with the Miami Heat. The Pacers beat the defending NBA champions 87-77 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday. The victory was the eighth straight at home for the Pacers. What made the victory even more impressive was that the Pacers were without forward Danny Granger (knee), point guard George Hill (sickness) sat out the fourth quarter and center Roy Hibbert was ineffective offensively. Paul George took care of things for Indiana. George finished with 29 points. Dwyane Wade led Miami with 29 points. LeBron James added 22 points. The Heat opened the second half by scoring nine of the first 11 points to take a seven-point lead. But that's when George woke up. George, who had a brutal series against Miami in the playoffs last season, scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the quarter. He made back-to-back 3-pointers during a 12-2 run to give the Pacers a 10-point lead. He walked down court with the confidence that he was the best player on the court after the second 3-pointer. The Pacers eventually pushed their lead up to 17 in the fourth quarter before the Heat made things interesting and pulled within eight with less than 90 seconds to play. Neither team shot well -- the Pacers at 35 percent and the Heat at 41 percent -- in the first half. They went into the half tied at 42-42. The Pacers felt fortunate to be tied because Wade dominated the first 24 minutes, scoring 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting. George had only seven points on 3-of-10 shooting in the first half. NOTES: Pacers coach Frank Vogel signed a multi-year contract extension earlier this week. Vogel, who took over for the fired Jim O'Brien in January 2011, went into Tuesday's game against Miami with an 82-56 record, including back-to-back playoff appearances. "We've established a great connection with our community the last two years, both on and off the court and I look forward to continuing that," Vogel said. ... The Pacers released small forward Sam Young over the weekend prior to the league's deadline for contracts becoming guaranteed. Young is expected to be out several weeks with severe left ankle sprain. The Pacers signed forward Dominic McGuire to a 10-day contract to take Young's spot on the roster. ... Former Pacers greats (coach) Bobby "Slick" Leonard, George McGinnis, Roger Brown and Freddie Lewis and current team president Donnie Walsh are nominees for this year's Hall of Fame class.
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