Wade scores 25, HEAT roll past Pacers 114-80
By TIM REYNOLDS
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
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