NBA Game Summary - Miami at Indiana
(Monday, March 31st)
Final Score: Indiana 105, Miami 85
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Danny Granger scored 23 points and collected seven rebounds, as the Indiana Pacers topped Miami, 105-85, in Jermaine O'Neal's return to action.
O'Neal had missed the past 33 games with a sore left knee, during which time the Pacers were just 12-21. He played a little less than 18 minutes on Monday and scored nine points.
"I don't really have the plays down the way the I would like to," O'Neal said. "I feel blessed to be able to get back out there on the floor, participate and help my teammates...I think a couple, three more practices and I will be much better with my timing, shots and overall game."
Mike Dunleavy had 18 points, and Jeff Foster grabbed 11 boards for the Pacers, who have won two in a row and kept the pressure on Atlanta for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Indiana remains three back of the Hawks, who topped Memphis Monday.
Daequan Cook scored 16 off the bench, and Kasib Powell and Chris Quinn each scored 15 for the Heat, who have lost four in a row. Miami wrapped up March with a record of 2-15.
"Obviously, with the way the season is going right now it's an opportunity for us to see what we can do," Quinn said. "All we can do is try and compete and win."
After taking just a two-point edge out of the first period, the Pacers built a substantial lead with a nine-point surge at the beginning of the second. Miami's Stephane Lasme evened the game with a layup to open the stanza, but an O'Neal dunk triggered the Indiana surge.
O'Neal had another bucket in the span, and made 1-of-2 free throws to end it, giving the Pacers a 36-27 lead. Indiana was able to stay ahead as the Miami offense went dormant. The Heat scored just six points through the first six minutes of the second quarter.
Indiana's lead briefly stretched to double digits, but a Quinn three-pointer ended the first half scoring, bringing Miami within 51-43 at intermission.
The Pacers held their margin through most of the third quarter, then extended it to 68-54 when Granger and Flip Murray connected on consecutive jumpers with about five minutes remaining. Marquis Daniels drained a three to end the third-quarter scoring, and the Pacers took a 78-65 advantage into the final period.
An eight-point Pacers burst shortly into the fourth quarter put the game away. Daniels' jumper was followed by a Dunleavy jumper, another Daniels bucket, and Travis Diener capped the run with a layup. The basket gave the Pacers an 86-67 lead, and Miami never challenged the rest of the way.
The teams traded baskets in the opening quarter, and two Dunleavy free throws with under a minute left put the Pacers in front, 27-25, heading into the second frame.
The Heat made 9-of-17 shots from three-point range, good for 52.9 percent, but made just 41.8 percent of their shots overall (28-of-67)...The Pacers had a 43-36 rebounding edge...Miami committed 22 turnovers...Joel Anthony blocked six shots for the Heat...Indiana travels to Boston on Wednesday to start a two-game road trip.
04/01 01:44:41 ET