Danny Granger scored 25 points, leading a balanced Pacers attack that saw six different players score in double digits as Indiana used an aggressive transition attack to keep Miami at bay Monday night and beat the Heat 105-90.
Among the double digit scorers for the Pacers was Darren Collison (7-12, 20 points, four steals), who was instrumental in getting the ball after any change of possession in the third quarter and pushing the ball down the court quickly, before Miami's fourth ranked defense could get set.
The Pacers have a good defense as well, and they got Miami to run a lot more isolation sets than they typically run throughout the course of a game. According to mySynergySports.com, the Heat ran over three times the plays tagged "isolation" (21.6 percent) against Indiana than their season average, leading to a 42-percent field goal shooting night and accruing only 11 assists overall as a team.
During that aggressive third quarter, Collison scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting and Granger popped in eight while Miami couldn't get going, leading to a 29-19 Pacer quarter and giving the home team their biggest lead to that point, a 13-point edge heading into the fourth quarter.
During a six-minute stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters, recently acquired Pacer Leandro Barbosa hit the Heat in a weak spot in spotting up for 12 points during that period of time, helping the Pacers stretch the advantage gained by Granger and Collison's third quarter play.
Miami mustered very little in the way of a comeback, as even though they turned up the energy on both ends, Indiana kept getting offensive rebounds and driving the lane, leading to a 10-12 free throw quarter for the Pacers. Miami got to the line, too, but the usually stellar free throw shooting Heat (78 percent, fifth overall in the NBA) was off there as well, making only 8-14 during the fourth and 24-37 overall (65 percent).
Dwyane Wade (7-16, 24 points), LeBron James (9-21, 24 points) and Chris Bosh (4-11, 14 points), as the normally do, controlled most of the scoring for Miami (69 percent), but the team overall couldn't muster the defense to make a move on the Pacers, falling again after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder, also on the road, the night before.
Though their stats weren't gaudy to make it obvious, David West and Roy Hibbert did their parts inside to get the win. West scored only 10 (5-8 shooting), but pulled down 12 rebounds, six on the offensive end while Hibbert made his presence felt inside, perhaps influencing the Heat to break down more than average on the offensive end. Hibbert ended the game with 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks and added a nice post dunk over LeBron in the second quarter.
Tom Lewis at Indy Cornrows points out the Pacers resolve against the mighty Heat:
No doubt the Heat are hurting and are probably begging for the playoffs to start. Every time they tried to bully the Pacers to get back in the game Indiana was ready to fight back and they eventually went away quietly. Again, a beautiful sight.
For all of the Monday box scores, check out SI.com's NBA scoreboard.