The 90-88 victory Wednesday night was Indiana’s 17th straight home win against the Heat, but it wasn’t certain until Wade’s desperation 3-point shot went halfway down and rimmed out at the buzzer.
“I thought it was (going in) for a quick second, then I saw he shot it a little to the left and that’s why it rolled out,” said Danny Granger, who led Indiana with 28 points. “Fortunately, he missed it.”
Wade, the NBA scoring leader at almost 30 points a game, had 21 points but was just 5-of-24 from the field, including 2-of-11 in the second half.
“I think it was good defense collectively,” Granger said. “A player like Dwyane Wade, he scores out of this world, he does it on a regular basis.”
Indiana trailed by four early in the fourth but took control with a 13-1 run midway through the quarter and held on despite going scoreless for nearly the final 4 minutes. The 17 straight wins, including three in the playoffs, go back more than seven years, and Wade has never won in Conseco Fieldhouse.
“I don’t know why we are so dominant here against them, I really don’t,” Granger said. “But it’s a good streak.”
Granger had seven points, and T.J. Ford six during Indiana’s big run, and a 3-pointer by Granger gave the Pacers their biggest lead at 90-80. Former Pacer Jermaine O’Neal had two baskets during an 8-0 run that brought Miami within two. The Heat then had two chances to tie, but neither Udonis Haslem nor Wade could convert in the closing seconds.
“It’s just one of those nights, man,” Wade said. “Naw, I got a lot of good shots. I’ve played against the Pacers many times, so I know how to play against them. I just missed a lot of shots I normally hit. It’s just one of those nights.”
Haslem finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds, and O’Neal had 13 points and three blocks but only two rebounds.
Ford added 20 points and Jarrett Jack 13 for the Pacers. Jeff Foster, starting in place of injured Troy Murphy, had a season-high 16 rebounds.
The bulk of the defense on Wade throughout the game was by Indiana rookie Brandon Rush.
“I just tried to challenge him on every shot he took and tried to stay in front of him,” Rush said. “I tried to contest everything he put up and make sure I got a hand up every time he left his feet.”
Wade hit only three of 13 shots in the first half but kept Miami close from the free-throw line.
He hit all six of his first-half foul shots, including the first two during a 10-2 run that erased an early seven-point Pacers lead. A 3-pointer by James Jones and a basket by Michael Beasley put the Heat up 29-27 early in the second period. Wade pushed Miami’s lead to 49-45 with two more free throws with 13 seconds left in the half, but a 3-pointer by Jack with 2 seconds to go got the Pacers within one.
Miami took its biggest lead at 74-70 on two free throws by Mario Chalmers before a basket by Ford started Indiana’s decisive run.
“That was an outstanding defensive effort by our team the entire game,” Indiana coach Jim O’Brien said. “To hold an MVP candidate to 5-of-24 shooting is terrific.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Miami still had a chance to win, even with the horrible shooting by Wade.
“He’d probably like to have some of those shots back,” Spoelstra said. “They just weren’t going down tonight.”