Rusty Pacers beat tired Heat

Posted: Friday, May 07, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS The Indiana Pacers' long wait for the second round was well worth it.

The Pacers bounced back from an 11-day layoff and a sluggish start Thursday night by going on a 26-5 run that started in the second quarter en route to a 94-81 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

''It certainly felt good to be playing again,'' Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

Ron Artest had 25 points and six rebounds for the Pacers, who hadn't played since wrapping up their first-round sweep of Boston way back on April 25.

The effects of the long break showed early, with the Pacers committing 10 turnovers in the first half and struggling to execute their offense for much of the game.

''There are so many areas we could correct from this game and I'm sure you can attribute some of that to the long layoff,'' said Pacers guard Reggie Miller, who scored 12 points.

Just two days removed from finishing a grueling seven-game series against New Orleans, the Heat didn't have the energy to capitalize.

Miami shot just 38 percent from the field, missing countless layups and coming up short on jumpers, a sign of fatigue.

''There are not a lot of holes in their game at either end of the floor,'' Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said of the Pacers. ''I'm not looking for excuses, they just outplayed us.''

Game 2 is Saturday in Indianapolis.

Rookie Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 22 points and seven rebounds. Caron Butler added 14 points and nine rebounds for Miami, which got the fast start it wanted before Jamaal Tinsley buried them with hot shooting from the outside.

Miami took a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes as Indiana opened the game cold from the field. Several of the Heat players were breathing heavy after the quick start and Indiana slowly started to wear down the younger team.

Lamar Odom's jumper with 3:42 to play in the second quarter brought the Heat within 34-32, and that's when the Pacers went on their big run. Artest got things started with two jumpers and a free throw and Tinsley took over from there.

''You might say I was feeling it a little bit,'' Tinsley said.

The point guard has worked hard this season to improve his outside shooting, and it showed Thursday night. Tinsley hit one 3 in the second quarter, and added two more at the start of the third as Indiana's lead ballooned to 60-37 with just under eight minutes to play in the third.

''That's something they did on us in the regular season,'' Wade said. ''We really have to lock down at the end of quarters and try to make a run ourselves.''

Tinsley was 5-for-6 from 3-point range and scored a playoff career-high 17 points.

''He certainly did a lot of great things for us,'' Carlisle said. ''His shot-making was essential. He's a guy that can make things easier for the rest of our team.''

The Heat didn't go quietly. They closed the third quarter with a 7-2 run and Wade got hot in the fourth to help Miami chip away at the lead. His acrobatic drive with 4:32 to go made it 82-74, but Miller hit a 3-pointer a minute later for a 13-point lead that put the game out of reach.

''They don't go away,'' Carlisle said. ''They just keep coming at you and coming at you.''

Miami outrebounded Indiana 47-39, outscored them in fast break points 14-0 and held Jermaine O'Neal, who was third in the MVP voting, to 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Still, they lost their 10th straight to the Pacers.

''We got in the hole and had to fight all the way back,'' Miami forward Brian Grant said. ''After that run, it's exhausting because they're rotating people in and out. After a while, it gets tough.''

Notes: Deputy commissioner Russ Granik and Hall of Famer Bill Russell presented Artest with the Defensive Player of the Year award prior to tipoff. ... Artest missed the morning shootaround with a migraine headache, but said he took some Tylenol and felt fine by game time. ... Indiana's Al Harrington got a technical foul at 4:14 of the first. ... Grant was given a technical at 5:36 of the second after picking up his third foul. ... Odom left the game briefly in the second quarter to have three stitches put in his chin after a fall under the basket.

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