Pacers beat the Heat in style for third straight win


Sporting the Hickory-themed jerseys, the Indiana Pacers outlasted the Miami Heat to get their third straight win, and third of the season, at Bankers Life.

In a 90-87 win, if there was any doubt about whether Paul George could play at a high level again, he ended that last night. With 36 points and 12 rebounds on 14-27 shooting, PG13 started to look a bit like PG24. Popping from mid-range, attacking the hoop, and bringing back an intensity that was sorely missed in Indianapolis for the majority of last season. Looking at the road ahead, George has room to grow in an offense set up for his liking. The key is staying healthy and consistent.

For Miami, Chris Bosh led the team in scoring with 21 points and 11 boards on 7-16 shooting. The big man was able to take advantage of his matchups and stretch the floor for both jumpers and close range finishes.

The Good
It may not have shown up on the box score, but it felt like the Pacers shot the ball better. At times they were sloppy, but in the midst of a gritty game against a potential playoff team it is ignored and especially, then, after a win.

As far as the postive side of injuries go, Ian Mahinmi was able to start fought through injury concern to make himself available for 25 minutes.

Finally, the Hickory theme was a big success last night. Michael Grady on the PA and coach Frank Vogel helped to emphasize the “Hickory basketball” team that beat Miami last night, and the celebration of Crawfordsville at halftime was commendable.

The Bad
Though Miami fell victim as well, Indiana was poor from the 3-pt line and almost as bad from the charity strike. George Hill was the only player hitting consistently (3-4) but the rest of the team was 2-11 and Paul George claimed the other two.

It was another tough night for Monta Ellis, who had just 4 points on 2-8 shooting, so the quest for him to heat up continues. Ellis is still a great addition for Indiana, good price for experience and scoring ability, but he isn’t showing his capacity to be a silent killer just yet.

On the negative side of the injury bug, Rodney Stuckey going down with an ankle injury that did not look good is worrisome. The Pacers may have to start introducing Joseph Young more if Stuckey’s injury is more long-term than expected.

Next: Purdue v. Illinois: Battle for the Purdue Cannon

The game was about as even as they come, the two teams shooting near 45% from the floor, not great from beyond the arc, and poor at the line, but for the Pacers to come out with a win is a testament to the “grind it out” mentality the team will have this season.

Is it too early to talk about the playoffs? Definitely. Though it’s always difficult to not keep one eye on the road ahead. The Pacers take on the Cavs in Cleveland tomorrow at 3:30 pm ET.