INDIANAPOLIS – Roy Hibbert threw all the inside body jabs Tuesday night. Paul George finished it off with the knockout blow.
Together, the Pacers’ devastating one-two scoring punch did it again to the champs.
Hibbert finished with 24 points, George made two big 3-pointers during a 15-point second half scoring spree and Indiana rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to take Round 1 against Miami 90-84.
“It was fun, a real intense game,” George said. “Both teams were playing at a high level. You could see an urgency to win this game tonight.”
While Indiana extended its franchise-record home start to a perfect 10-0 and took a three-game advantage over Miami in the early chase for home-court advantage, this was no ordinary regular-season game.
Hibbert dominated the middle, scoring nine of the Pacers’ first 11 points and making a season-high 10 baskets — most from point-blank range — despite playing in the second half with cotton in his nose. David West added 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists including a left-handed runner that gave Indiana an 88-81 lead with 38.9 seconds to go.
Miami’s LeBron James, the league’s No. 2 scorer did get 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, but was just 3 of 11 from the field with nine points over the final 36 minutes. Dwyane Wade also finished with 17 points, while Chris Bosh added 12.
Suns 114, Lakers 108
In Los Angeles, Goran Dragic scored 31 points and Phoenix beat the Lakers, keeping the hosts winless with Kobe Bryant back in the lineup.
Bryant led Los Angeles with 20 points while playing 29 mostly sharp minutes in his second game back from a nearly eight-month absence with a torn Achilles tendon.
Spurs 116, Raptors 103
In Toronto, Manu Ginobili scored 16 points, Tony Parker had 15 and San Antonio beat the hosts for the sixth straight time.
Nets 104, Celtics 96
In New York, Deron Williams scored a season-high 25 points in his return to the lineup and Brook Lopez added 24 as Brooklyn beat Boston.
Cavaliers 109, Knicks 94
In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 37 points and Jarrett Jack added 17 points for the Cavs.
Timberwolves 121, Pistons 94
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Kevin Love had 26 points and 16 rebounds to lead Minnesota.
Thunder 101, Hawks 92
In Atlanta, Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Oklahoma City won for the 11th time in 12 games.
Bucks 78, Bulls 74
In Chicago, John Henson had 25 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots, and Milwaukee beat the Bulls in a matchup of injury-riddled teams trying to break out of a slump.