The Union Recorder

Local Sports

March 11, 2013

Heat win 18th straight, roll past Pacers 105-91

(Continued)

MIAMI —

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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