Pacers 84, Heat 83
Paul George scored 23 points and Roy Hibbert had 21, leading the host Indiana Pacers back from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit for a dramatic victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
The NBA’s best home team ended a two-game losing streak, took a 2-1 lead in the season series against the two-time defending champions and rebuilt a three-game advantage in the race for the Eastern Conference’s top seed. Indiana (52-20) also clinched its second consecutive Central Division crown, something it hadn’t done since 1998-99 and 1999-2000.
LeBron James scored 38 points, but Miami managed just one basket over the final 3:54.
Chris Bosh had a jumper at the buzzer to win it but it hit nothing but air.
George had two monster dunks — one over James — to get the Pacers back in the game.
It was a good, old-fashioned grudge match right down to the final shot — Bosh’s air ball from slightly to the right of the top of the key.
There were flagrant fouls and bodies flying. Lance Stephenson was ejected midway through the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul. And nobody had a rougher night, physically, than James.
He tripped in the first quarter and wound up dribbling the ball while sitting down. He got knocked to the ground and slid into the basket support late in the third quarter. He did a push up following another hard fall early in the fourth, and then got whacked across the face before shooting free throws. Before the game ended, James was called for a flagrant foul for an elbow on a layup, an elbow that landed squarely in the face of the 7-foot-2 Hibbert.
The shot left Hibbert on the ground and he stumbled when he tried to get up.
Plus, James had to contend with all those picks from Indiana’s All-Star center, too. And he wound up with six turnovers, including the one that led to an Evan Turner layup that gave Indiana the lead for good with 90 seconds to go.
Suns 99, Wizards 93
After letting a 25-point lead dwindle to three, Suns guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe got back to business, combining to finish with 48 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds and help visiting Phoenix gain its fifth consecutive victory.
The Suns moved into a tie with the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both clubs are 43-29 with 10 games remaining.
Raptors 99, Celtics 90
Terrence Ross scored 24 points, Kyle Lowry 23 and the visiting Toronto Raptors edged closer to their first playoff berth since 2008. DeMar DeRozan added 20 points for Toronto, which increased its Atlantic Division lead to 2˝ games over Brooklyn, which lost in Charlotte.
Bobcats 116, Nets 111
Al Jefferson scored 35 points, Kemba Walker had a double-double and the host Charlotte Bobcats beat the Brooklyn Nets in overtime for their 10th win at home in the last 12 games. Walker had 20 points and 12 assists and Chris Douglas-Roberts had 16 points, including two big jump shots in overtime. Deron Williams had 29 points for Brooklyn, including 18 in the first quarter.
Timberwolves 107, ?Hawks 83
Gorgui Dieng had 15 points and 15 rebounds to continue his out-of-nowhere emergence and the host Minnesota Timberwolves dealt the slumping Atlanta Hawks another costly loss. Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin each scored 18.
Pelicans 97, Clippers 94
Anthony Davis had 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, and the under-manned New Orleans Pelicans won their fourth in a row. Darius Miller capped a 16-point effort with two key late jumpers, the last giving host New Orleans a 97-92 lead with 47 seconds left.
Spurs 108, Nuggets 103
Tim Duncan had 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and host San Antonio overcame a fourth-quarter collapse to beat Denver for its 15th victory in a row.