Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers visited Miami desperate for a win. Hibbert left with what the struggling Pacers needed. The Pacers beat the Miami Heat 81-75 and Hibbert was valuable on both ends of the basketball court. Hibbert finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
These were not the same Pacers as they were undermanned with injuries, however Chris Copeland scored 17 points and put Indiana ahead to stay on a layup with 43 seconds left. Copeland scored in double figures for the eighth time in the Pacers’ nine games. He had four double-digit games last season. The Pacers who had each of their last three seasons end with playoff losses to Miami, held the Heat to 17 points or fewer in each of the final three quarters, plus outrebounded Miami 53-28. The Heat even struggled when the Pacers struggled on defense; Miami missed 10 of its 18 free throws.
Indiana was missing six players, including four-fifths of its starting lineup from the last Pacers-Heat meeting — that being Game 6 of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. Paul George, David West and George Hill are all hurt and Lance Stephenson is now with Charlotte, meaning Hibbert was the lone returning first-stringer from that rivalry.
“I’m thinking about not starting a losing streak again,” Hibbert said. “We dropped six straight, we won last game, and I’m not thinking about a rivalry. I’m just thinking about getting wins.”
The Heat honored Alonzo Mourning at halftime for his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year, updating his retired jersey that hangs from the rafters to note his enshrinement. “I took a part of Heat Nation into the Hall of Fame,” Mourning said. The Heat could not get the win on Mourning’s night. Miami’s 75 points were its lowest at home in a regular-season game since Feb. 27, 2010. Miami’s Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 20 points. Shawne Williams scored 15 for Miami. Chris Bosh was held to a season-low nine, on 3 for 13 shooting.
“This offense is predicated on ball movement,” Bosh said. “And they really flattened us out.”
The Pacers finished with 16 offensive rebounds compared to six by the Heat. Miami hits the road for Atlanta. The Pacers next game will be at home against Denver.
Image courtesy: Mourning Family Foundation/twitter