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              === Heat beat Pacers thanks to hot shooting late ===
 Miami, FL ( - It was a struggle for the Eastern Conference's
 top 3-point shooting team, but the Miami Heat kept chucking.
 And finally, those shots began to fall.
 Ray Allen nailed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 59.5 seconds remaining, Dwyane Wade
 scored  a season-high 32 points and the Heat escaped with a 97-94 win over the
 Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
 Miami,  which  came in shooting  38.6 percent from  beyond the arc, missed its
 first nine from deep before connecting on five of its last 12 attempts.
 The  Heat trailed by  as many as 15 in the third quarter, but battled back and
 consecutive 3s by Chris Bosh and Allen gave Miami its first lead, 95-92, since
 it was 14-13 during the middle stages of the first quarter.
 David  West sunk two  free throws at the other end to cut the deficit to 95-94
 with  44.4 seconds left and Chris Andersen misfired from the right baseline on
 Miami's  next touch, but George Hill threw a pass behind Paul George along the
 left baseline and LeBron James picked it off with 13.9 ticks on the clock.
 Allen  then made  two free throws and George's step-through 3-pointer from the
 top  of the  arc was well off the  mark with 4.1 seconds remaining to seal the
 It  was the  second meeting between the two Eastern Conference heavyweights in
 just  over a week. The Pacers, who lost in seven games to Miami in last year's
 Eastern  Conference finals,  beat  the Heat  90-84 on  their  home floor  last
 The teams don't meet again until March 26.
 James  was a  game-time decision  after  he hurt  his left  ankle in  Monday's
 win  over the Utah Jazz. He had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for
 Miami, which closed the game on a 12-2 run.
 "He  knows his body and he knows his ankle," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of
 James. "He looked fine."
 The  Heat tallied 50  points in the paint as Indiana rim protector Roy Hibbert
 was saddled with foul trouble. He picked up his fifth foul early in the third.
 George  finished with  25 points, eight boards and six helpers for the Pacers,
 who  have dropped  back-to-back tilts  for the  first time  this season.  West
 poured in 23 points in defeat.
 "We knew they were going to make a run," George said. "We just didn't rally."
 Lance  Stephenson  netted nine points  in the opening  frame as Indiana took a
 26-22  lead  into the second. That  margin increased to 36-24 after Luis Scola
 capped a 10-2 run with a jumper to start the second.
 James  then  scored six points  as Miami countered  with nine straight to pull
 within  36-33 midway through  the period, but he picked up his third foul with
 4:26 to go and sat for the rest of the half.
 The  Pacers took advantage as back-to-back buckets by George concluded an 11-4
 swing,  which gave  the visitors a 52-39  lead before they settled for a 52-41
 cushion heading into the break.
 Hibbert  picked up two quick fouls in the beginning stages of third and sat on
 the  bench  with his  fifth at  the 8:34 mark.  Indiana, meanwhile, pushed its
 advantage  to  66-51 midway through  the quarter  after George sunk three free
 The Heat clawed back late in the third.
 Norris  Cole  and Rashard Lewis  nailed back-to-back triples for Miami's first
 two  makes  from deep.  James then  put in the  final five  points of the 11-2
 flurry,  which  he capped with  a three-point play after  he threw down a dunk
 over West to whittle the Heat deficit to 74-69.
 Indiana led 76-71 after three and 92-85 with 3:20 remaining.
                                   Game Notes
 The  Heat moved  within a  game of  Indiana for  the Eastern  Conference's top
 record  ...  Miami scored  19 points off  16 Pacers turnovers  ... Bosh had 15
 points and eight rebounds.
 12/18 22:47:49 ET

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