Pacers edge Heat; Shaq hurts ankle
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Jermaine O’Neal scored 27 points and continuously
hit big shots as the game tightened in the fourth quarter, and the Indiana
Pacers took advantage of a Shaquille O’Neal ankle injury to defeat the Miami
Heat, 105-102, at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Ron Artest, in his second game back from last season’s 73-game suspension, had
22 points, as five Pacers scored in double figures.
Jamaal Tinsley chipped in 13 points and six assists for the Pacers, which
completed a two-game sweep of the Sunshine State, defeating Orlando in their
season opener. Indiana has beaten Miami in 13 of the last 14 regular season
Dwyane Wade had a game-high 31 points and Shaquille O’Neal had 18 points and
six rebounds before he left the game in the fourth quarter with a right ankle
sprain. Shaq is considered day-to-day with his injury.
Udonis Haslem added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Antoine Walker and
Alonzo Mourning had 12 points in the loss.
Shaq came down awkwardly on his right ankle while going for a rebound and he
stayed down for a minute or so. Shaq was helped off the floor and taken to the
locker room by team trainers. He was diagnosed with a sprained right ankle,
and X-rays taken in the locker room were negative.
“He’s probably going to miss some time the way he was walking on it,” Heat
head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He seemed like he was in some pain and
obviously disappointed because he wants to play.”
Indiana had a 14-point lead in the third quarter, but the game tightened
during the fourth quarter.
Miami tied the game with five minutes remaining, as Gary Payton drove toward
the foul line and had the ball knocked away by Tinsley. Austin Croshere
committed the cardinal sin of team basketball, saving the ball underneath the
opposition’s basket, and Payton picked up the loose ball and laid it in while
being fouled by Tinsley.
Payton missed the free throw, but Tinsely was hit with a technical and Wade
converted the free throw to tie the game at 93.
The pace became frantic in the final 1:30. Wade came off a screen and hit a
three-pointer from the top of the circle with 1:29 left to cut Indiana’s lead
Then, after Jermaine O’Neal lost the ball, Payton went coast-to-coast, spun in
the lane and attempted a left-handed layup. The ball was blocked by a hustling
O’Neal, but Haslem was in the right place at the right time and laid in the
loose ball to cut the lead to one with 1:08 left.
Jermaine O’Neal hit two free throws with 50.1 seconds left to increase the
lead, and Indiana’s team defense took over from there.
Fred Jones, inserted late in the game for his defense, along with Artest and
O’Neal, were in every passing lane and gave every Heat ballhandler no room.
The result was Walker stepping on the left sideline as he frantically
attempted to get a shot off to tie the game with 29 seconds left.
“The players had to be very aware of where you are and the communication had
to be good. The players did a great job,” said Pacers head coach Rick
With the score 105-102, Miami in-bounded the ball with just under four seconds
remaining, and got it in the hands of Wade. He shook off Jones and got off a
three-pointer as time expired. The ball hit the center of the glass and rolled
completely around the rim before falling aimlessly to the floor, giving
Indiana an early statement-game victory.
“It was like the Wheaties commercial with (Michael) Jordan. The ball went
around and played with me and it came out,” said Wade. “I got a good look and
I got a good shot. It went in and came out.”
Artest punctuated a solid opening quarter for the Pacers, stroking a 30-foot
three-pointer to give Indiana a 29-23 lead. The forward had 10 points in the
frame to lead all scorers.
Indiana added another buzzer beater at the end of the half, as Jermaine O’Neal
hit a three-pointer off a Tinsley assist to give his team a 59-50 advantage.
The third quarter was not as easy offensively for Indiana. After an Artest
jump shot with 6:13 left, Indiana could muster just eight free throws the rest
of the period, but the Pacers still led 82-71 going into the fourth.
The Heat cut the deficit to five early in the fourth quarter, thanks to Wade
and Shaquille O’Neal. Wade got a loose ball and went coast-to-coast to make
the score 89-84 with 8:17 left. Then, O’Neal, after being double-teamed,
dished the ball down the lane to a cutting Payton who laid it in with the left
Miami has lost three of its last four home openers…Indiana forward
Scott Pollard did not play because of a calf injury…The Heat are 23-41 all-
time versus Indiana…The attendance, 20,128, was just 163 shy of the
franchise record for the highest single-game attendance set vs. Atlanta on
December 27, 2004…Despite the loss, the Heat have still won 47 of 54 at
home…Both teams shot 48 percent from the floor, but while the Pacers shot
5-of-10 from behind the arc, Miami was a dismal 3-of-16 from three-point
range…The Heat turned the ball over 17 times and outrebounded the Pacers