George ejected, Heat stay hot with win over Pacers
MIAMI — Paul George had another frustrating night in Miami.
Hassan Whiteside scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Dion Waiters added 22 points and the red-hot Miami Heat pulled away late to beat the Indiana Pacers 113-95 on Saturday night. Miami outscored Indiana 42-22 in the final 16 minutes, all with George watching from the Pacers’ locker room after an ejection.
“It felt like a playoff-type game,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Goran Dragic added 21 points and James Johnson had 15 for Miami. It was the 16th win in the last 18 games for the surging Heat, who moved within 1 1/2 games of idle Detroit for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference — and are now three games back of No. 6 Indiana, a most unlikely development considering that Miami was 11-30 a few weeks ago.
“We’re going game by game,” Dragic said. “That’s the most important thing. Tonight’s game is over.”
The Pacers are now 2-18 in George’s 20 games, including playoffs, at Miami — with losses in each of the last 11.
The ejection made this one tougher than most for the Pacers to take.
George was ejected for the third time this season after two technicals on separate plays early in the third quarter. The first came with 10:45 left, when he and Heat rookie Rodney McGruder were assessed technicals after pushing and shoving. The next technical for George came just 1:56 later, with referee Gary Zielinski telling a pool reporter afterward it was for “profanity directed at an official.”
George had a different recollection.
“It’s not like I said something derogative to him,” George said. “He said it’s an (expletive) foul. He was a puppet. Spo was in his ear. And he called it.”
George stayed on the court while Dragic shot the free throw for the technical. Referees said the ejection announcement was briefly delayed because of timing. Zielinski said referees were aware it was George’s second technical, and that referee Bill Kennedy halted public address announcer Michael Baiamonte from announcing it at first because Dragic was about to shoot.
“Because he was shooting, Billy stopped them from announcing it,” Zielinski said. “And then they announced it, and he was ejected.”
George said he felt the double-technical could have simply been a warning.
“We had our moment,” George said. “We move on. It’s a soft league.”
Myles Turner scored 18 points and Jeff Teague added 16 for Indiana. George had 10 points in 19 minutes.
“I think some people were surprised he was going to be ejected with that technical foul,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Pacers: Glenn Robinson III scored 13 points and Rodney Stuckey had 12 for the Pacers. … Indiana led by as many as 11 in the first half, before settling for a 54-53 lead at the break. … George moved past Billy Knight for the No. 8 spot on the Pacers’ career NBA scoring list.
Heat: Whiteside got his 37th double-double. … Josh Richardson, now back from a foot sprain, played at home for the first time since Jan. 1. … The Heat lost backup center Willie Reed in the second half with a right calf strain. He’ll be reevaluated on Sunday.
Miami’s streak of 100-point games started after a win against Dallas last month — when the Heat managed only 99. The Heat visit Dallas on Monday.
This was the fourth consecutive Heat-Pacers game to be played in Miami. The Heat didn’t go to Indiana at all in 2016 (both their 2015-16 trips were before New Year’s), and play there for the only time this season on March 12.
Pacers: Visit Houston on Monday, the second stop on this five-game road trip.
Heat: Visit Dallas on Monday, Miami’s last regular-season game outside the Eastern time zone.
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