MANILA, Philippines – All five starters scored in double figures and the Indiana Pacers finally won one over the Miami Heat, 105-90, making it the second straight game that the Heat lost by double-digits.
The Heat have won all three of their games this season, but the Pacers thoroughly outplayed their Miami counterparts in this meeting.
|Indiana Pacers guard Leandro Barbosa (28) of Brazil puts up a shot defended by Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade (3) during the third quarter of their NBA basketball game in Indianapolis March 26, 2012. Photo by Brent Smith, Reuters.
Danny Granger led all scorers with 25 points, while Darren Collison added 20 markers. David West (10 points, 12 rebounds) and Paul George (16 points, 10 rebounds) both had double-doubles, while Roy Hibbert was just one rebound shy as he finished with 11 points and nine boards.
"You learn lessons by competing, even if you don't win sometimes. Our guys had a determination that they weren't going to be denied tonight," said Indiana coach Frank Vogel in NBA.com.
The Pacers led by as much as 16 points, but in the third period, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade conspired on a 9-0 run that cut the lead to a single digit, 58-59.
Indiana responded with a 12-2 run of their own, however, as they ended up leading 71-65. The Heat never seriously threatened in the fourth quarter.
"Not only was it a big win for us, but it shows us that not only can we play with them, but we can beat them," said George. "We must build on this and continue to show what we did tonight."
The Heat suffered their second consecutive double-digit defeat after losing against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 103-87, in their previous game. They have lost six of their last eight road games and are now 35-13 this season.
The Heat now trail the Chicago Bulls by 3.5 games in the Eastern Conference.
"Sometimes, you go through these spells in an NBA season, and it's a struggle," admitted Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
The Heat were outrebounded 33-49 and committed 17 turnovers. They made only 29 of their 69 field goals in the game.
"Some of the turnovers, you can live with... But some of the ones where you're just careless, you don't like those turnovers," James said. "I know I had a few careless ones tonight."
Despite the losing streak, Chris Bosh remained positive, saying, "We're not even going to remember this a month from now, two months from now."
"All we can do is learn from our experiences right now and just try to get back on time and everything will take care of itself," he added.
James and Wade finished with 24 points each, while Bosh had 14 markers.
Celtics, Pistons win
Paul Pierce had a double-double to lead the Boston Celtics past the woeful Charlotte Bobcats, 102-95.
Pierce finished with 36 points and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Garnett added 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 13 assists.
The Celtics improved their record to 27-22 and tied the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Atlantic Division.
"I thought we came out and made a concerted effort to get the ball inside," Pierce said. "We kept the ball moving and stayed aggressive out there. We took our time and tried to get to the free throw line."
Pierce added that he wanted to be more aggressive because of the absence of shooting guard Ray Allen due to injury.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons edged the Washington Wizards, 79-77, thanks to a 24-point performance from Rodney Stuckey.
Stuckey hit the game winning jumper with two-tenths of the seconds left in the game to win it for the Pistons, who trailed by as much as 13 points in the game.