Miami wipe out significant deficit down the stretch.
It was a busy night in the NBA on Wednesday with no less than 12 games, but the Miami Heat stole the headlines with their win over Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers.
The defending champions struggled through the first two quarters, as they missed threes, felt aggrieved with many of the calls from the officials and began to lose their cool with one another.
However, behind 32 points from Dwyane Wade and LeBron James adding 24 points, the hosts were able to battle back and secure a 97-94 win.
Chris Bosh and Ray Allen also connected on huge three-pointers down the stretch which ultimately helped the Heat erase a 15-point deficit in the final 18 minutes, while Roy Hibbert was forced off the floor for a significant period in the second after falling into foul trouble.
“It shows we’re a team that’s been there before,” Wade told reporters. “No matter what the score is we always feel we have an opportunity to win the game.”
James later apologized on Twitter for his rant at team-mate Mario Chalmers, and all appears to be well for Erik Spoelstra’s men who will undoubtedly understand the importance of having home court advantage for the post-season.
David West had 23 points while Paul George had a team-high 25 points, but despite coach Frank Vogel’s claims that it is still only December, he will be frustrated with his team’s effort in surrendering their commanding lead.
Elsewhere, the Brooklyn Nets suffered a setback after looking much improved in recent weeks, as John Wall and the Washington Wizards picked up a 113-107 win at the Barclays Center.
The talented point guard ended the game with 21 points and six assists, and given the uncertainty surrounding the East this year, he will hope to lead the Wizards into the playoffs as they currently sit in seventh spot.
Although they needed double overtime, the New York Knicks eventually got the win over the Milwaukee Bucks and received a boost in the form of Tyson Chandler, who returned from his broken fibula.
Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points, but Beno Udrih picked up the top performer stat line for the visitors after going for 21 points, four rebounds and five assists.
Meanwhile, over in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers slipped to defeat against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Despite Damian Lillard’s 36-point haul as well as six assists and six rebounds, it was Kevin Love who stole the show as he continues to re-establish himself as the best power forward in the league.
His opponent on Wednesday, LaMarcus Aldridge, is one of the individuals looking to take that accolade away from him, but with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists, Love is putting an injury plagued season last year behind him and leading his team again.
In contrast, there were no problems for the San Antonio Spurs who ended the Phoenix Suns’ five-game winning streak with Manu Ginobili stepping up in Tony Parker’s absence, ending the game with 24 points and seven assists, with 11 of his points total coming in the final four minutes.
Nevertheless, the Oklahoma City Thunder remain at the top of the West for now, with the Blazers and Spurs not far behind.
Indiana 94-97 Miami Heat
Utah Jazz 86-82 Orlando Magic
Charlotte Bobcats 104-102 Toronto Raptors
Sacramento Kings 107-124 Atlanta Hawks
Detroit Pistons 107-106 Boston Celtics
Washington Wizards 113-107 Brooklyn Nets
New York Knicks 107-101 Milwaukee Bucks
Portland Trail Blazers 109-120 Minnesota Timberwolves
Memphis Grizzlies 91-105 Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio Spurs 108-101 Phoenix Suns
Chicago Bulls 94-109 Houston Rockets
New Orleans Pelicans 95-108 Los Angeles Clippers