Wade scores 25, HEAT roll past Pacers 114-80


AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) Michael Beasley was under

siege in the Miami Heat postgame locker room. Some teammates went with

verbal jousts, more daring ones tried to unbraid his hair.

All in good fun, a reward of sorts for taking his first charge of the season.

“Felt like we won a championship,” Beasley said afterward, braids still attached.

Yep, just about everything seems to be working for the Heat these days.

Dwyane Wade scored 25 points in only

28 minutes, Jermaine O’Neal added 19 points on 6 of 7 shooting against

his former team and the Heat enjoyed their largest victory margin this

season by topping the Indiana Pacers 114-80 on Sunday night.

Beasley scored 16 points and Udonis

Haslem added 13 for Miami, 5-1 in its last six games since a 28-point

loss to Memphis two weeks ago sparked a team meeting, a long and ugly

film session and plenty of soul searching. The Heat started 8 of 8 from

the field for a 17-3 lead and never looked back, building a 66-44

advantage that was their largest at halftime since January 2007.

“Defense has been the biggest change

since the Memphis game, and just our overall approach and effort to the

game and commitment to each other,” Wade said. “It’s been there ever

since our team meeting.”

Troy Murphy scored 16 for Indiana,

which dropped its sixth straight. It could have been so much worse for

the Pacers, too – they actually outscored Miami 14-0 during one

first-half stretch, a brief blip in what was otherwise a Miami romp.

The dominance was thorough. Miami

shot 49 percent to Indiana’s 31 percent, held a 55-40 rebounding edge

and outscored the Pacers 54-24 in the paint.

“We competed when we got behind tonight,” Indiana coach Jim O’Brien said. “After that, everybody just played bad basketball.”

One bright spot for the Pacers, sort

of: Tyler Hansbrough scored 10 points on 0 for 5 shooting, becoming the

first NBA player since Andre Miller on Nov. 28, 2005, to have a

double-double without a field goal, according to STATS LLC. Hansbrough

was 10 of 10 from the foul line and added 10 rebounds.

“It’s odd,” Hansbrough said. “But it’s a double-double whatever way you look at it.”

Otherwise, this was the lowlight of

Indiana’s already-poor season. Before Sunday, Indiana’s worst loss was

a 21-point defeat to Dallas on Nov. 27.

Indiana scored the game’s first

point, significant because the Heat led wire-to-wire in the first

meeting between the teams this season. After that, though, it was all

Miami – the Heat led 17-3 before Indiana got a stop, and were up 34-12

with 2:38 left in the opening period, with O’Neal making all four of

his shots.

In two games this season against Indiana, where he spent eight seasons, O’Neal is averaging 20.5 points on 65 percent shooting.

“I didn’t come into the game

thinking I needed to have a great game against these guys because of my

history with them,” O’Neal said. “It was more getting opportunity. …

When the bell is rung for me, I want to go out and score, and I will.”

After their strong start, the Heat

missed 10 straight from the field, giving Indiana a chance to make it a

game again by reeling off 14 consecutive points.

It didn’t stay a game for long.

Beasley’s dunk with 6:42 left in the

half put Miami up 40-29 and the lead was never in doubt again. Wade had

11 points in the quarter, Indiana missed 15 of its final 19 shots of

the half, and the Pacers were well on their way to an 11th loss in

their last 12 road games.

“We talked about our habits and

being an every-possession team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

“Regardless of whether the ball’s going in or not, you have to compete

and get after it on the other end. I thought for the most part, other

than that stretch, we were able to do that.”

The capper came with 6:24 left, when

Beasley stepped in front of Indiana’s 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert, took his

long-awaited charge, then rolled around in delight before going over to

the Heat bench for more congratulations.

“Made me feel good for him,” Heat forward Quentin Richardson said. “He’s been trying and trying to do that.”

NOTES: The Heat were the sixth team

this season to start a game 8 of 8 from the floor. … Miami’s biggest

lead this season had been 31 points against the New York Knicks in the

opener. … Through three quarters, Indiana’s starters had 25 points

combined, matching what Wade had done by himself.

Updated December 27, 2009