Winning in Indiana has never been easy for the Heat.
It wasn’t easy at all Wednesday night, but Bankers Life Fieldhouse is now another place where Miami can mark down an impressive road victory.
Thanks to another long, late three-pointer by Wayne Ellington, which rimmed in with 23.2 seconds remaining after he fired it from 31 feet away, the Heat picked up its first regular season road win in Indiana since Valentine’s Day 2012 with a 114-106 victory over the Pacers.
Counting the playoffs, the Heat had lost six consecutive games in Indiana dating back to a Game 2 victory over the Pacers in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat is now 14-52 all-time in Indiana.
Seven of the eight players who played for Miami (24-17) scored in double figures as the Heat shot 53.1 percent (13 of 30 from three-point range), extended its winning streak to six games and expanded its lead over Washington (23-18) to a full game for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Now at the midway point of the season, the Heat is on pace to finish with 48 wins – the same number of wins in Dwyane Wade’s final season in Miami two years ago.
Goran Dragic led Miami with 20 points, three rebounds and nine assists and Hassan Whiteside had 16 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in 28 minutes. Ellington missed his first six three-point shots, but finished with 15 points — all in the second half. His last three, over two Pacers defenders with the shot clock winding down, extended the Heat’s lead to 109-103.
Tyler Johnson, who missed Tuesday’s win in Toronto with a left shoulder strain and wasn’t expected to play, had 15 points and five assists in 31 minutes off the bench. Rookie Bam Adebayo added 15 points and five assists off the bench in 31 minutes a night after his impressive 16-point, 15-rebound, 5-block effort.
Miami scored a season-high 38 points in the opening quarter after making 15 of its first 22 shots. The Heat led by as many as 16 points in the first half and went into the break ahead 58-47 after shooting 53.7 percent from the field.
The Pacers went on an 11-0 run midway through the third quarter and trimmed Miami’s lead to as little as 70-69 with 3:03 remaining when Al Jefferson made a hook shot over Adebayo.
But the Heat took an 84-78 lead into the fourth quarter and expanded the lead back out to 90-80 before the Pacers rallied yet again and tied it at 97 with 5:09 remaining.
That’s when Dragic, Whiteside and Ellington went to work down the stretch.
Victor Oladipo led the Pacers (21-20) with 26 points, but Indiana finished just 1-of-18 from three-point range for the game.