Feisty clash between Eastern Conference rivals sees Pacers move three games clear.
There were 10 games on the NBA schedule on Wednesday night, with the Indiana Pacers securing a vital win over the Miami Heat despite 38 points from LeBron James.
The hosts rallied from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take a three-game lead over Miami in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Paul George had 23 points while Roy Hibbert added 21 as the duel between these rivals got heated with injuries and ejections.
Nevertheless, the most important aspect of the night was that the Pacers improve to 52-20 while Miami slip to 48-22, and it all came despite a superb night from the four-time MVP who also had eight rebounds, five assists and was 9-of-15 from the field.
However, perhaps the biggest problem for Miami was that both James and Dwyane Wade had six turnovers apiece, while they also went cold at the death as ultimately the top seed now looks to slipping out of their reach.
Home court advantage could potentially be significant for the Pacers, and with this win they may well have secured it over their rivals.
Elsewhere in the East, the Brooklyn Nets missed the chance to move closer to the third seed after suffering an overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, while the Toronto Raptors made no mistakes against the Boston Celtics and moved back ahead of the Chicago Bulls, although both teams remain locked at 40-31.
The race for the eighth and final spot continues to heat up as the Atlanta Hawks fell to a loss at the Minnesota Timberwolves, and combined with the New York Knicks’ win over the Sacramento Kings, the gap is now just two games.
After disappointing losses against Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers, it appeared as though the Knicks may well have blown their chance of making the playoffs, but with the Hawks struggling it is still wide open with around 10 games to play.
Carmelo Anthony had 36 points on the night while J.R. Smith added 29 as the visitors were able to hold off DeMarcus Cousins (32 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists) and the Kings.
In contrast, it’s smooth sailing for the San Antonio Spurs who made it 15 straight wins after victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Tim Duncan had 29 points and 13 rebounds on another stellar night for the veteran while the rest of the roster contributed in various ways to allow the league-best Spurs to open up a three-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Brooklyn Nets 111-116
Phoenix Suns 99-93 Washington Wizards
Toronto Raptors 99-90 Boston Celtics
Cleveland Cavaliers 97-96 Detroit Pistons
Atlanta Hawks 83-107 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Clippers 96-98 New Orleans Pelicans
Miami Heat 83-84 Indiana Pacers
Denver Nuggets 103-108 San Antonio Spurs
New York Knicks 107-99 Sacramento Kings
Memphis Grizzlies 91-87 Utah Jazz