With the win, the Pacers captured the Central Division crown.
Vogel on the division crown: "It’s quite an accomplishment. We’re happy with that but we have bigger goals.”— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) March 27, 2014
Chris Bosh missed what would have been the game-winning jumper at the buzzer.
The Pacers entered the fourth quarter trailing by five, but they proceeded to hold the Heat to just 15 points over the final 12 minutes.
This game got chippy (as expected), and Lance Stephenson was ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul.
Wade: "There's a dislike: so that's a part of it."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 27, 2014
If Pacers and Heat meet in playoffs, might be good idea to make it a best-of-three series. I don't know if they could survive seven.— Mark Montieth (@MarkMontieth) March 27, 2014
Indiana overcame a very poor shooting effort, as it shot only 37 percent from the floor. However, it took good care of the basketball, recording only 10 turnovers and forcing the Heat into 18.
Miami hit on 45.9 percent of its shots and actually pulled even with the bigger Pacers in both rebounding (37) and points in the paint (30).
Indiana now owns a 2-1 edge over the Heat in regular-season play this year. The two teams will face off again on April 11 in South Beach.
Key Player Grades
LeBron James, Small Forward
James was absolutely sensational in this one, demonstrating his "extra gear" against Miami's conference rival.
LeBron was in attack mode from the get-go, scoring 20 points in the first half and then dropping another 18 in the final 24 minutes. Do the easy math. That's 38.
What was most impressive, though, was how James scored those points.
He didn't settle for jump shots. Instead, he put his shoulder down and took it to the rack, absorbing contact and either finishing around the rim and/or drawing fouls.
LeBron shot 11-of-19, going 14-of-15 from the charity stripe. He also pulled down eight rebounds and dished out five assists.
James did record six turnovers, but he was so good in all other facets that the miscues were almost negligible. Almost.
Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard
Dwyane Wade was a mixed bag against Indiana.
He was efficient from the floor, going 6-of-11 for 15 points, but he accrued six turnovers. Unlike James, Wade didn't do enough else where you could just say that he compensated for his mistakes.
Some of Wade's turnovers were just sloppy, careless decisions, as well.
Perhaps he was still feeling the effects of the sore Achilles that caused him to miss the previous two games, but whatever it was, Wade didn't look entirely himself Wednesday night.
He also came up lame late in the fourth quarter, grabbing at his hamstring. He was unable to return.
Wade said he felt spasm in his hamstring— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 27, 2014
Chris Bosh, Power Forward
Bosh was virtually nonexistent in this one.
As a matter of fact, he was so bad that he was benched in favor of Rashard Lewis for much of the fourth quarter. Rashard Lewis.
Bosh, who spent much of the game in foul trouble, shot 3-of-11 from the floor, going 2-of-6 from downtown. He accumulated only eight points and four rebounds, and outside of a short stint in the second quarter where he had a couple of big blocked shots, Bosh was a non-factor.
He also shot an air ball on what would have been the game-winning shot.
Bosh on last shot: "Can't do much in two seconds."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 27, 2014
The Heat forward generally always struggles against Indiana, but this was beyond struggling.
Mario Chalmers, Point Guard
Mario Chalmers was not very good Wednesday night.
The floor general shot 2-of-10 from the floor, missing on all three of his three-point tries. He also went only 1-of-4 from the free-throw line.
Chalmers finished with five points and five rebounds in 40 minutes.
Greg Oden, Center
One of the main reasons the Heat signed Greg Oden was so he could put a body on Hibbert. Well, we got to see the Oden-Hibbert matchup in action on Wednesday night, and it didn't work in Oden's favor.
Hibbert was simply too strong and shifty for Oden in the post, easily backing him into the paint and utilizing his footwork to finish around the Heat big man.
Oden played six first-quarter minutes and committed two fouls.
Norris Cole, Sixth Man
With Ray Allen out with the flu, Norris Cole played the role of sixth man in this one.
He tallied five points, three rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 25 minutes.
You don't expect Cole to be Allen, but you do hope that he takes care of the basketball and limits his mistakes.
He didn't really do that.
Chris Andersen put in some good minutes for Miami, tallying three points, four rebounds and three blocks in 19 minutes.
Lewis got some minutes with Allen out, totaling five points and four rebounds.
Also, Udonis Haslem deserves a ton of credit for his post defense on Roy Hibbert. He got good leverage and made Hibbert catch the ball much further off the block than the Indiana center would have liked. Haslem threw in a corner jumper and four boards to go along with his stellar D.
Neither Michael Beasley nor Shane Battier got a single second of burn.
Paul George, Small Forward
George had a very solid all-around outing in the win.
The wiry forward racked up 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. He also only turned the ball over once.
George did not hit at a very efficient clip, going only 8-of-19 from the field, but he did connect on three of his six three-point tries and made all four of his free-throw attempts.
Perhaps most importantly, 15 of George's 23 points came in the second half when the Pacers needed them most.
His highlight of the night was him blowing by LeBron and throwing down a big two-handed flush with James going for the trailing block.
It was reminiscent of some of the things George did in last year's Eastern Conference Finals.
Roy Hibbert, Center
Hibbert came surging out of the gates in this one, scoring 13 points off 6-of-8 shooting in the first quarter alone. He used a dazzling display of low-post moves against Oden early, setting the tone for Indiana right off the bat.
Hibbert would only add eight points the rest of the way, but his impact was already felt.
He also did a great job of altering shots, especially Bosh's final look right before the buzzer sounded. Hibbert ran out, got his arms up in the air and clearly affected Bosh's view of the basket, resulting in an air ball.
The 7'2" behemoth finished with 21 points and four rebounds. He shot 7-of-15 from the floor and made good on seven of his nine free-throw tries.
David West, Power Forward
David West did not shoot the ball well at all, going 3-of-11, but the last shot he made was the biggest shot of the game and perhaps the biggest shot West (or any Pacer) has hit all season.
With 50 seconds remaining and the shot clock winding down, West hit a three-pointer to put the Pacers up four, all but sealing an Indiana victory.
The burly West posted 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes.
David West: "We just try to match their intensity, and then because we're bigger, we can take it a step further."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 27, 2014
His ability to affect the game in ways other than scoring and his big triple late in the contest keep his grade out of the C range.
Lance Stephenson, Shooting Guard
Stephenson picked up two technicals in this game, the second coming midway through the fourth quarter when he mouthed off to Wade, resulting in an ejection. The first came during a scuffle with Wade in the first half.
It's a shame, because Stephenson had been playing well, too.
Lance Stephenson: “I just tried to get my teammates hyped, get the crowd involved. I let my teammates down by doing that. I’m wrong.”— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) March 27, 2014
Vogel: “Lance can’t get himself get kicked out of games, he’s too important."— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) March 27, 2014
He was aggressive and was really starting to assert himself down the stretch, getting to the rack and helping facilitate good ball movement.
Stephenson exited with 15 points off 6-of-12 shooting, making three of his four long-range attempts.
George Hill, Point Guard
George Hill barely made a dent on the scoreboard, posting only two points, but he did make some very nice lead passes to cutting teammates and did a fine job on Chalmers defensively.
However, for a team that struggles to score the basketball as it is, you usually can't live with getting only two points from one of your starters, especially against the Heat. Indiana was able to get away with it on Wednesday, but that won't happen very often.
Hill needs to do more next time.
Plus, with the Pacers up 84-83 with just under three seconds to go, Hill missed a pair of free throws, giving Miami a chance to win the game on the other end.
Hill recorded four assists to go along with his lone two points. He shot 1-of-4.
Evan Turner, Sixth Man
In Stephenson's absence, Evan Turner made two huge shots down the stretch, including a layup off a beautiful spin move to give the Pacers an 81-80 lead.
The newcomer scored eight points off 4-of-10 shooting, and while he still isn't entirely comfortable yet, his clutch performance against the Heat could go a long way in helping him build some confidence over the final month of the season.
Turner also made some very nice passes.
His play in crunch time helps earn him a decent grade.
Ian Mahinmi scored two points and grabbed four rebounds.
That was it.
Luis Scola went 0-of-5 and was a complete non-factor. Donald Sloan got seven minutes and missed both shots he took.
Not a great effort from the Indiana pine.
This team really misses C.J. Watson, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.
What's Next for the Heat?
A very easy schedule.
Five of Miami's next six games are against sub-.500 teams, including two contests against the woeful Milwaukee Bucks.
Spoelstra on playoff picture: "There's still plenty of games left."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) March 27, 2014
The Heat better get fat on those gimme games if they want to grab the No. 1 seed in the East, though, because the schedule gets tougher in the latter half of April.
What's Next for the Pacers?
Breathing, for one.
This was a huge win for the Pacers. If they had lost this game, I'm not sure what would have happened to their psyche, but they didn't.
As for their upcoming schedule, it's a medley.
They get two road games against the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers, and then they come home for a showdown with the NBA-best San Antonio Spurs.
Indy also still has the one game left with the Heat on April 11.