The Miami Heat were sloppy in a humbling loss to a fellow elite
team. They figure to get back on track quickly the way LeBron James
has played during a win streak over the Indiana Pacers.
James and the Heat conclude a three-game trip Monday night as
they look to defeat the Pacers for the sixth straight time.
Miami (35-12) failed a major test Sunday, falling 103-87 at
Oklahoma City as its four-game win streak was snapped. The Thunder
shot 52.7 percent – the highest mark allowed by the Heat in their
last 26 games in Miami’s worst loss of the season.
“They jumped us, everybody saw it, they had us on their heels
and they were the aggressors,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even
when we were able to crawl back into the game, they were able to
play to more of their identity than we were and they were much more
physical and forceful.”
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 22 points and James had 17 points and
seven assists, but the stars combined for 10 turnovers. Oklahoma
City scored 28 points off 21 turnovers.
“Some of them were attack turnovers, some of them were careless
turnovers,” James said. “We started the game with a turnover. From
there on, we turned the ball over, gave up was it 21 turnovers for
28 points on someone else’s home floor, you’re never going to win a
game like that.”
The two-time league MVP has been nothing short of sensational
during the five-game run over Indiana (28-19), averaging 30.2
points and 7.4 assists. His assist-to-turnover ratio in three
victories this season is three-to-one.
Miami’s defense has been outstanding against Indiana leading
scorer Danny Granger, averaging 9.3 points on 29.4 percent shooting
in the season series.
The Heat have outrebounded the Pacers by an average margin of
10.3 boards, but Spoelstra expects a tough contest Monday.
“We’ve got a plane ride tonight and have to get prepared for
another physical team that’ll challenge us on their home court in
the same manner,” Spoelstra said.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel was beaming with pride for how physical
his team was in Saturday’s 125-104 rout at Milwaukee. Indiana held
a 49-25 advantage on the glass and attempted 39 free throws.
“We want to be a smash-mouth basketball team, which for us is to
play a power post game, pound it inside and live at the free throw
line,” Vogel said. “We don’t always execute that identity, but
tonight we did.”
George Hill led Indiana with 24 points, Roy Hibbert had 16 and
Granger and David West each chipped in with 15.
Reserve forward Tyler Hansbrough was set to get an X-ray on his
cheekbone after Milwaukee’s Mike Dunleavy was assessed a Flagrant-1
foul for a hard knock that sent Hansbrough to the floor. Hansbrough
did return after the fourth-quarter incident.
“Whatever happened, I was upset,” Hansbrough said. “I’m just
upset because I got fouled pretty hard. Stuff like that
The Heat have won four straight in Indiana to improve to 9-34