INDIANAPOLIS - They're high-flying showmanship can make even the most partisan crowd "Ooh" and "Ahh" in admiration.
Whether its Dwayne Wade following a missed three pointer with a rim-tilting slam or Chris Bosh simply driving baseline then finishing with authority with one hand.
Of course, a LeBron Jamesquick pass for another score or a high-arching three just addes to the spectacle.
But in the spirit of securing their first win over the Miami Heat-and perhaps a little momentum for the playoffs just a month out-the Pacers showed the ability to wow the gallery with some showmanship of their own.
A Roy Hibbert slam in the face of James and a Paul George buzzer-beating half-court shot gave the Pacers the lead and momentum at the end of the first half. It would prove to be a turning point for Indiana, who controlled the game the rest of the way for a 105-90 victory over Miami.
"When a shot like that goes down, you kinda feel confident going into the second half," said George of his 50-foot shot to close the first 24 minutes of basketball.
For the record, though, it was Hibbert's play that started it off when he got the ball in the paint and took aim at the possible NBAMVP. With James trying to get an arm up as he elevated, Hibbert slammed the ball over him to tie the game at 44 with a minute to go in the half.
After James missed a tying three-pointer with four seconds left, Paul George got the rebound and dribbled quickly to mid-court. Just behind the line, he threw up a line drive shot that went right into the net on the fly to give the Pacers a 47-44 lead at the break.
"It was a lucky play," said George of the shot. "I just put it up there and my prayers were answered."
With that shot, though, the Pacers needed less of the devine to finally get past the Heat who've beaten them three times previous this season. Indiana outscored Miami 29-19 in the third quarter to open up a 13-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
There it was the bench that mainly shut the door, including new acquisition Leandro Barbosa. His eight consecutive points in the final quarter shut the door on a Miami comeback and gave the Pacers one of their biggest victories of the season.
"This game it felt so good to get over that hump," said guard Danny Granger, who led the Pacers with 25 points.
Miami beat the Pacers handily in their first two showings, but the Pacers nearly had them beat in South Florida back on March 10th. A late Heat rally forced the game into overtime which Miami eventually won 93-91, a lesson head coach Frank Vogel believes paid off Monday night.
"We know we've got to play and complete game to beat this team because they are a great basketball team," said Vogel. "You learn lessons by competing even if you don't win sometimes. Just like we did in the playoffs last year, we learned we could hang with the Bulls even if we didn't win the series.
"That game three in Miami, we learned we could play with these guys and we didn't play our best game. So now we come back and play a strong effort tonight and outplay them really the whole night and get the 'W'."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times