Miami Heat extend win streak to 18
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI – Erik Spoelstra was blunt.
“We’re well aware they’ve absolutely pounded us, beat us up,” the Miami Heat coach said of his team’s two previous games against the Indiana Pacers and before the two teams played on Sunday.
In the previous games – both at Indiana – the Pacers outscored the Heat 189-166, including 102-89 on Feb. 1, outscored them 76-64 in points in the paint and 37-16 on second-chance points and outrebounded them 89-61.
Indiana outmuscled Miami. And since then, the Heat haven’t lost.
When confronted with an opportunity to redeem themselves Sunday, the Heat dismantled the Pacers, 105-91, extending their franchise-best winning streak to 18 games and leaving no doubt about their supremacy in the Eastern Conference.
Miami also has beaten every team in the league in a season for the first time in franchise history.
The Heat are a roll right now – just four consecutive wins from tying Houston’s second-longest NBA winning streak at 22 – and found the redemption they sought against Indiana.
It was a pedestrian game statistically for Heat All-Star LeBron James, who had 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
But fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh delivered. Bosh looked for his shot often and finished with 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting, and Wade continued his strong play with 23 points.
Miami guard Mario Chalmers scored a game-high 26 points, making 5-of-6 three-pointers, and guard Ray Allen, who went scoreless in the first two games against the Pacers, had 11 points.
Miami, which shot 55.9% from the field, built a 40-40 halftime lead and used dominant stretches in the second half to open 79-56 and 105-84 leads.
Indiana made runs late in the third and quarter in the fourth but were never able to cut Miami’s lead to single digits.
James and the rest of the Heat had the scouting report on the Pacers mastered. The Heat understand how and why the lost the two earlier games against the Pacers.
“They play inside-out. A lot of NBA teams now these days play outside-in. They’re not one of them,” James said. “The play inside out with (Roy) Hibbert and David West … [For more on Miami Heat extend win streak to 18, click here.]