Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers: Game Grades and Analysis

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Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers: Game Grades and Analysis
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Led by Roy Hibbert and his game-high 24 points, the Indiana Pacers (19-3) remained a perfect 10-0 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a 90-84 victory over the Miami Heat (16-6) on Tuesday night.

It was a hard-fought win for Indiana, which only got two points out of Paul George in the first half. The team also turned the ball over 21 times. However, the Pacers' strong shooting (50.7 percent) and reinvigorated play after halftime turned the tide and helped catapult them over the defending NBA champions.

Miami led by as many as 13 in the first half and didn't trail until there was six minutes and 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Pacers outscored the Heat 28-17 to head into the fourth with a four-point lead.

 

Miami Heat

LeBron James, Power Forward

There must have been five of LeBron James out there on the court, because it looked like he was everywhere at once in the game's early stages.

His defense on Paul George was superb. He found success in man-to-man situations, but once the double-teams started coming, the Pacers star was rendered helpless.

James' first three-pointer of the night came in the final five minutes of the game, cutting Indiana's lead down to five at 82-77. A travel in the paint with three minutes and 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter handed momentum right back to the opposition.

A couple of failed drives right at Roy Hibbert and an air-balled three-pointer in the final minute are not what you'd expect from the greatest player on the planet in such a big game. 

A double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds is nothing to turn your nose at, but those aforementioned plays, his five turnovers and his inability to take over on offense are knocks against him.

Grade: B+

 

Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard

Quiet efficiency.

That sums up Dwyane Wade's game for the Miami Heat, although if you take into account his monster slam dunk in the fourth quarter, maybe he wasn't that quiet.

In 35 minutes, Wade had 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: A-

 

Chris Bosh, Center

Chris Bosh was never going to outmuscle Roy Hibbert down low, so rather than fight a meaningless battle, the eight-time All-Star took his offense outside, nailing a couple of early jumpers. 

If it's falling, why avoid it? It brings Hibbert out to where he doesn't want to be. It takes the No. 2 shot blocker in the NBA away from the basket. 

CB1 was able to avoid the failed Paul George box out and get an easy basket under the rim, which was then followed by Bosh blocking George on the other end.

Bosh shot 50 percent from the field for 12 points and three rebounds. 

Grade: B-

 

Mario Chalmers, Point Guard

Mario Chalmers had nine points and three rebounds in 28 minutes, which is right near where his averages are for the season.

Nothing out of the ordinary on this night. 

Grade: C+

 

Shane Battier, Power Forward

The 13-year veteran scored five of Miami's first seven points on a three-pointer and a drive for a slam dunk.

That good start was later erased when he air-balled his third attempt from long range. This reflects the 31.7 percent he's shooting on the season.

Fifteen minutes and five missed shots from behind the arc? Meh.

Grade: D

 

Ray Allen, Sixth Man

Prior to tonight, Ray Allen had averaged 12.5 points in his last four games, shooting 53.1 percent from the field in the process.

If not for a late three-pointer that didn't matter whatsoever, Allen would have gone scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting. 

Grade: D+

 

Bench

Chris Andersen came up with a massive block in the fourth quarter. He even had a short little stretch when he made two easy baskets off of nice looks from his teammates.

In the first half, he didn't give Hibbert many problems down low, but he redeemed himself with a strong showing late in the game, finishing with 10 points. 

Norris Cole shot well, scoring nine points on 4-of-5 from the floor. 

Grade: B+

 

Indiana Pacers

Paul George, Small Forward

It wasn't until the four-and-a-half-minute mark of the first quarter that Paul George actually attempted a shot. That's what happens when LeBron James becomes extra motivated to guard you on the perimeter.

In fact, despite playing all 12 minutes, George ended the period with more turnovers (2) than points, rebounds and assists combined (0). Frankly, the Heat were in his head during that first half. Nothing was coming easy and everything was contested.

By halftime, George had missed all four of his shots and turned the ball over five times.

He's the No. 1 scorer in the NBA in the second half at 15.5 points, but he didn't hit his first shot from the field until there were four minutes remaining in the third quarter. I suppose that's all it took to wake up his shot on offense, as George would hit two three-pointers to close the third with 12 points.

His first half was ugly, but the 15 points he scored later on came in clutch moments when Indiana was looking to widen the margin on the scoreboard.

Grade: B-

 

Roy Hibbert, Center

As expected, the Miami Heat defense made Roy Hibbert a priority early, double-teaming the 7'2" center in the post. It didn't accomplish much; he hit his first four shots.

The pace of the game eventually caught up to the big man. His teammates didn't go to him nearly as much for the remainder of the half, which is surprising considering how easy offense was coming to him to start the game.

After scoring nine points in the first five minutes, Hibbert wouldn't put the ball through the basket again in the opening 24 minutes.

The second half was a different story. Hibbert scored 15 of his 24 total points with relative ease. As was the case in the 2013 NBA playoffs, Miami didn't have an answer.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: A+

 

David West, Power Forward

Fourteen of Indiana's first 29 points came from Roy Hibbert and David West. By halftime, West was leading the team with 11 points and five rebounds, including six attempts at the free-throw line.

Having Rashard Lewis come off the pine to defend West was never going to cut it. The Pacers had a clear size advantage with their frontcourt and looked to exploit it as much as the Heat defense would allow. Putting Shane Battier on him brought similar results. 

Three straight turnovers from West in the third quarter, including two errant passes to Hibbert down low, halted Indiana's progress.

Overall, a line of 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists will make you smile, but those seven turnovers bring you back down to earth.

Grade: B

 

George Hill, Point Guard

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What was with the air ball on his free-throw attempt in the first quarter? He's a career 80.9 shooter from the charity stripe. He must have been channeling his inner DeAndre Jordan on that one. 

A George Hill three-pointer four minutes into the third quarter tied the game at 55.

He didn't account for much offense, but his contributions in other areas (eight rebounds and six assists) are worthy of some praise.

Grade: B

 

Lance Stephenson, Shooting Guard

Lance Stephenson gave the Pacers some momentum going into the locker room at halftime, drawing a foul on his made basket and cutting the Heat lead to single digits.

A three-pointer to open the third quarter cut the lead to four. His energy and tenacity on both ends of the floor gave the Pacers a nice shot in the arm.

He came up with a huge steal in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter which actually bounced off of the referee. Fortunately for him, the ball ended up back with the Pacers, resulting in a Stephenson basket due to a Chris Anderson goaltending call (which was later waived).

Stephenson's slam dunk with absolutely no defense from Miami was the icing on the cake. 

He finished with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Grade: B

 

Bench

C.J. Watson intercepted a pass at the end of the first quarter, hitting a layup just as the clock expired. 

The second unit of Watson, who made big plays in the final quarter as well, Orlando Johnson, Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi kept Miami in check early in the second quarter, allowing the Pacers' starters to rest and regroup for their eventual return.

Scola also played some nice minutes down the stretch, playing solid defense, facilitating and putting some quick points on the board. 

Mahinmi did his best to give Hibbert some much-deserved rest, but his four fouls and scoreless night made having Indiana's starter back on the court all the more important. 

Grade: B

 

What's Next?

The Miami Heat will now embark on a five-game homestand at the AmericanAirlines Center which includes a rematch with the Pacers on December 18. Their next game will be on December 14 against Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Indiana will have three days off before hosting the Charlotte Bobcats on December 13.

 

Follow Featured Columnist/NBA Live Blogger Christopher Walder on Twitter at @WalderSports

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