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Pacers Turn Down Heat In Miami


In a battle of first-place teams, the Miami Heat finished a distant second to the Indiana Pacers.

Reggie Miller scored 30 points and Indiana survived a late Miami rally to win 110-101 Wednesday night.

The Pacers, leading the Central Division and the Eastern Conference, built a 22-point lead in the third period and won for the ninth time in 10 games. They took the season series 3-1 and broke a four-game winning streak by the Heat, who lead the Atlantic Division.

"This was a big game for my guys," Indiana coach Larry Bird said. "They wanted this win badly."

The Pacers avenged an 11-point loss when they last played the Heat on Dec. 28 in Miami.

"Ever since then, we were looking at this game on our schedule," Miller said. "They're a team we're definitely going to see down the road in the playoffs. They play with so much intensity here. We had to match it and then some."

Indiana improved to 16-9 on the road, the best in the Eastern Conference. Miami gave up 100 points for the first time in 12 games and for the first time at home since Dec. 16.

"This was a big game against a quality team and they handled it better than we did," Miami coach Pat Riley said.

"They're a much more mature team than we are, and a lot has to do with their experience. Larry has been able to nurture that because he's the same kind of person."

The Heat trailed 73-51 before rallying. Keith Askins' 3-pointer made it 81-73 with 11 minutes left, and Miami hit four consecutive 3-point attempts -- including three by Tim Hardaway -- to cut the deficit to 105-101 with 1:22 remaining.

But Antonio Davis scored on a dunk, and two free throws by Jalen Rose clinched the victory for the Pacers, who shot 51 percent.

Hardaway had 32 points for the Heat, who shot 47 percent but were hurt by 17 turnovers.

"We're not going to be a real contender until we pass the ball better and not turn it over," Riley said.

Alonzo Mourning had 21 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out late in the game. P.J. Brown also had foul trouble, Hardaway drew a technical foul and Riley said the Heat allowed themselves to become frustrated about calls against them.

"We started to beg the officials," Riley said. "If you're not getting the calls, you can't let yourself get taken out of the game."

The Pacers outscored Miami 11-2 to lead 54-37 late in the first half, then scored the first six points of the second half to make it 64-42. Not even foul trouble for Rik Smits and Dale Davis could slow down the Pacers, who improved to 15-0 when scoring at least 100 points.

"I'm pretty pleased with my team right now," Bird said.

Notes:

  • Miller drew a technical foul for trash-talking in the second period.
  • The Heat fell to 11-4 in the second game of bak-to-back sets.
  • Riley took the stage during a Jimmy Buffett concert Saturday in West Palm Beach to play the bongos on Margaritaville.
  • Buffett is a Heat fan; Riley describes himself as a former percussionist.
  • Heat reserve Duane Causwell has played in 13 games and has more fouls (18) than points (14).
  • Miller, Smits, Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson have started every game for the Pacers.

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