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Page last updated on Fri Dec 19 06:42:37 EST 2014
RECAP
03/10/2013 10:37 PM EDT
Heat win 18th straight, roll past Pacers 105-91
MIAMI 105, INDIANA 91

By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI (AP) -- It's not a LeBron James winning streak. It's a
Miami Heat winning streak.



If there was any confusion on that point, the reigning NBA
champions might have cleared that up Sunday night.



Mario Chalmers scored 26 points, Chris Bosh added 24 and the
Heat won their 18th straight game, easily topping the Indiana
Pacers 105-91 - even with James scoring only a season-low 13,
yet clearly helping control play with seven assists and six
rebounds.



"That's the thing about our team," Chalmers said. "We can click
on all cylinders."



The streak ties the seventh longest in NBA history, and is the
league's best since the Boston Celtics won 19 straight in
November and December 2008.



"We just did what we're supposed to do," said Dwyane Wade, who
added 23 points and six steals for Miami. "Win at home."



Ray Allen added 11 for Miami (47-14), which now has a victory
over every NBA team this season. The Heat had been 0-2 against
the Pacers.



"When you can win like this, we can go home, we can breathe
easier, food tastes better, it makes life a lot better," Allen
said. "That's the goal and I'm sure everybody in this locker
room will say the same."



David West scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half for the
Pacers, who fell nine games behind Miami in the Eastern
Conference standings. Roy Hibbert scored 15, D.J. Augustin had
14 and Paul George scored 10 for Indiana.



The Heat held a 27-15 edge in points off turnovers and finished
the game shooting 56 percent compared with 41 percent by
Indiana.



"We didn't compete from the opening tip," West said. "I just
don't think we brought enough competitive fire. LeBron James has
13 points and these other guys - Chalmers has 26 - it's just not
enough. We didn't compete enough. You can't beat a team like
that in their building as well as they're playing without
competing."



Those "other guys" did their jobs, none better than Chalmers.



Miami's point guard needed only nine shots to get his 26 points,
going 5 for 6 from 3-point range and making all seven of his
free throws. He also grabbed seven rebounds, tying a career
high.



Since Nov. 17, 2010, there have been only two instances of a
player scoring at least 26 points on nine shots or less,
according to STATS LLC: Chalmers on Sunday, and a 27-point
effort from Chris Paul earlier this season.



"All your guys have to be live options and Rio took that to
heart," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He took shots he was
capable of making. ... He must be aggressive against the better
defensive teams in the league."



The Pacers warmed up at the basket the Heat typically use, and
just about every starter kept pre-game pleasantries such as
handshakes and quick hugs to a minimum. And there were moments
of physicality, but nothing near the level of those body-flying,
blood-drawing clobberings that came during last season's Eastern
Conference semifinals.



Then again, that series was competitive throughout. This game
was essentially over just after halftime.



Miami led by nine after the opening quarter, the second-largest
deficit the Pacers faced after 12 minutes all season. Indiana
hardly folded; the Pacers used a 24-14 run to get within two
when West scored with 2:57 left before the half. The margin was
still only six in the final minute before intermission.



But the Heat couldn't have scripted a better final 6.9 seconds
of the half.



After a deflection sent all the defensive matchups askew, James
found himself being guarded 1-on-1 by Hibbert, so he simply
drove past the 7-foot-2 center for a slam. Wade then stole the
ball from George near midcourt with about 3 seconds left, took a
couple dribbles and hit a 12-footer over Hibbert's outstretched
arm as time expired, giving Miami a 56-46 lead at the break.



Miami missed its first shot of the second half, then didn't miss
another field-goal attempt for eight minutes.



"We used that momentum," James said.



Seven straight makes by Miami fueled what became a 21-7 run, and
essentially took away any mystery about the outcome. What was an
eight-point game turned into a 77-55 Heat lead, the margin
exactly doubling the biggest leads Miami held over Indiana in
the first two meetings between the clubs this season - combined.



From there, yes, there were reminders that these teams aren't
exactly fond of one another.



Stephenson, who made a choke sign at the Heat during last year's
playoffs, then was the subject of a flagrant foul from
now-former Heat backup Dexter Pittman later in that series,
drove the lane with 3:05 left in the third period and drew a
hard foul from Battier. Stephenson remained down for a few
moments, and a video review confirmed that Battier made a play
on the ball, so anything beyond a common shooting foul wasn't
merited.



It might have fired up Indiana a bit as the Pacers scored the
final nine points of the third quarter to get within 79-65.



They could have gotten two more points closer if not for a
brilliant defensive play by James in the final seconds. George
got free for a layup, but James stalked him on the break and
swatted away the shot.



"Tough loss," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Give credit to the
Heat for really outplaying us."



NOTES: The 18 straight wins ties for the second-best streak by a
reigning NBA champion. Boston won 19 straight in the season
after the 2008 title, and the Celtics won 18 in a row after
claiming the 1981 championship. ... Vogel picked up a technical
early in the fourth quarter. ... Shane Battier's streak of
making a 3-pointer in 18 straight games ended. He did not
attempt a shot from beyond the arc. ... After the game, the Heat
recalled Jarvis Varnado from the NBA Development League.

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