Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson was whistled for a second
technical foul with 5:01 remaining, prompting coach Frank Vogel to
call on recently acquired guard Evan Turner, who came over in a deal
with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Turner scored back-to-back field goals with 2:03 and 1:30 remaining,
pushing the Pacers into an 81-80 lead, and Indiana hung on for an
84-83 victory in sold-out Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"Some of my moves I have been doing since I was a little kid," said
Turner, who scored eight points in 21 minutes. "When I went in
there, I was just trying to make sure I had an impact on the game.
When Lance got thrown out, coach turned to me and said, 'Welcome to
the rivalry, now get in there.'
"Thankfully, in the past, I have been in a lot of special situations
and pressure games. I have come up pretty big. They say that when
the going gets tough, the tough get going. I can do that kind of
stuff ... take the pressure off other guys. Pacers-Heat is pretty
crazy and a great game for the fans. There is so much excitement and
The teams performed at a playoff level in game in which Heat forward
LeBron James produced 38 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Indiana (52-20) now holds a three-game lead over the Heat (48-22) in
the race for the East's top playoff seed.
"Evan Turner did a good job stepping in after Lance was ejected,"
Vogel said. "He made two huge plays. We probably don't win the game
without Evan's plays."
The outcome hung in the balance until Miami forward Chris Bosh
missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer after
Indiana guard George Hill missed two free throws with 2.3 seconds to
Indiana, 33-4 at home, led 84-80 after forward David West hit a
3-pointer with 50 seconds to play.
Bosh's 3-pointer brought the Heat within 84-83 with 2.9 seconds
left, and then Hill couldn't hit either of his free throws.
Miami inbounded the ball at half-court to James, who passed to Bosh
for a chance at victory. The shot was short, and Indiana survived.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the final play for Bosh may not have
been the best option.
"Unfortunately, that is what I diagramed," Spoelstra said. "It might
have been a little bit too gunslinger. I just wanted an open shot.
With the game that LeBron had, obviously you would want to get him
Vogel breathed a sigh of relief at the end.
"I was very proud of our effort to battle back a few different times
when it seemed like Miami was about to take control of the game,"
Vogel said. "LeBron was sensational, and we still were able to
[to top of second column]
For James, the loss was easy to break down.
"We had too many turnovers (seven) in the fourth quarter," James
said. "I am down now, because I feel like it is my fault on the one
I was driving (and) going right and Paul George was able to knock
the ball off my foot and they get a layup."
George led the Pacers with 23 points, center Roy Hibbert added
21, Stephenson scored 15, and West finished with 13.
"Right now, we have smaller goals (than earning the No. 1 seed in
the East)," George said. "There is a lot of stuff in between. We
have to move the ball better, share the ball and play with even more
energy. A lot of our losses recently have been because we have not
finished plays when we have had opportunities to win. We had not
gotten back to just playing good basketball."
James' floater in the lane to begin the fourth quarter gave the Heat
a 70-63 lead, the Pacers countered with a 6-0 burst capped by a
George dunk, cutting the deficit to 70-69 with 9:35 remaining.
After two more James free throws gave the Heat a 72-69 lead, the
Pacers went on a 7-0 run to lead 76-72 on a Stephenson field goal at
the 5:01 mark.
Stephenson, however, was whistled for a second technical foul
seconds later, and Miami countered with an 8-0 burst, which included
a James 3-pointer.
With 3:23 to play, the Heat led 80-76.
Indiana got 13 first-quarter points from Hibbert to lead 23-17 after
12 minutes, but James countered with a 12-point second quarter to
help Miami seize a 45-44 advantage at halftime.
NOTES: Entering Wednesday's game, Miami and Indiana each had six
victories in the past 12 meetings featuring the best in the East,
with the Heat averaging 93.3 points and the Pacers averaging 92
points. ... Miami G Dwyane Wade (strained left Achilles) was in the
starting lineup, which was expected. He scored 15 points. ... Pacers
coach Frank Vogel said that C Andrew Bynum, who is battling
continued soreness and swelling in his right knee, is expected to
play again this season but not in the immediate future ... The
starting time for the Pacers' April 13 home game against F Kevin
Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder was changed to 1 p.m. ET from 6
p.m. The game will be televised by ABC.
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