It is no secret that the defending NBA champions have had problems rebounding the basketball this season. Last night the Indiana Pacers reminded them you can’t run the floor without the ball as they pounded the Heat on the backboards and set the tone that lead to a 87-77 victory.
Roy Hibbert grabbed 14 caroms, and Paul George and David West added 11 each as Indiana obliterated the Miami on the glass, 55-36. George continued his steady play offensively by leading the Pacers with 29 points, including 4 for 9 behind the three point arc. Lance Stephenson added 13 points on a night in which the combination of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James produced 52 points and 15 rebounds for Miami. The Pacers led by as many as 17 at one point in the final stanza, and continually forced their will inside as well, producing 28 points down low.
Miami was never really in sync offensively and unlike last year in the playoffs against the Pacers, they were unable to produce any significant point totals off the fast break or off of their bench.
Notes: Twenty-three of Wade’s game high 30 points came in the first half in which nobody wearing a Pacer uniform had an answer for him. He shot 8 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 4 from downtown.
The Pacers held him scoreless in the third quarter, but allowed LeBron James to hit for 16 points in the same time frame. Paul George dropped in 12 of his 29 in the third as well.
George Hill struggled mightily and was scoreless in 23 minutes of action. Have to wonder if he is truly recovered from a recent thigh injury. Backup point guard D.J. Augustin played well handing out eight assists in 24 minutes of action. Augustin did not have a single turnover and the Pacers had just 9 as a team. Gerald Green provided some spark off the bench despite shooting just 3 of 11.
Indiana improved their record to 21-14, which is good for first place in the Central Division.
They play again at home this Thursday against the New York Knicks in a game that tips off at 8 p.m. TNT will broadcast the contest nationally and Reggie Miller will be part of the broadcast team.
Danny Bridges can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.