By Tim Reynolds
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MIAMI _ Chris Bosh remained away from the team. Luol Deng had to put his own dislocated finger back into place. Dwyane Wade missed his first 10 shots. Beno Udrih departed in the first half with a right foot injury.
And the Indiana Pacers led 11-0 to open the game.
Somehow, not even all that could deter the Miami Heat.
Goran Dragic scored 24 points, Hassan Whiteside finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds, and the Heat won their third consecutive game since the All-Star break, rallying from 14 points down to beat the Pacers 101-93 in overtime Monday night.
“What’s going to break us?” Wade said. “That’s the character of this team. We’re tough.”
Wade added 16 points and Justise Winslow scored 15 for Miami, which won despite shooting only 38 per cent. The Heat grabbed 66 rebounds for the second consecutive game after reaching that mark only three times in their first 28 seasons.
Deng had 13 points and 16 rebounds for Miami.
“It was rough at the beginning,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But our guys just stayed the course.”
Paul George had 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, and Myles Turner scored 16. But Indiana’s starting backcourt of Monta Ellis and George Hill missed 22 of 24 shots.
Ellis was 2 for 17, the worst game in the NBA this season for anyone taking 15 or more shots. The Pacers missed their first six attempts of the extra session, and Miami took control.
In both of Indiana’s trips to Miami this season, the Pacers have blown a double-digit lead and lost in overtime.
“It’s the same story every time we’re here,” said George, who has played in Miami 18 times _ and left a winner only twice. “We control the game for so long and then it’s always late in the game where it gets away from us. It’s always been the story and really our history here.”
Indiana led by 14 early, Miami finished the half on an 11-0 spurt to get to 44-41 at the break, then wound up leading by as many as six late in the third quarter before a frenzied finish to regulation.
Wade made two free throws with 4.5 seconds left to put Miami up one, but was called for a foul on a pass by Ellis with 0.8 seconds remaining. (“Good call,” Wade acknowledged.)
Ellis missed the first, made the second and off they went to overtime tied at 88.
“Gutsy effort,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We just fell short.”
Miami outscored the Pacers 13-5 in the extra period.
The Heat were again without Bosh, who is still determining how or when he can return this season after a blood clot _ an issue that ended his 2014-15 season, though in a much more severe way _ was found in his leg at All-Star weekend, a person with knowledge of the situation has told The Associated Press. The team still hasn’t even been able to reveal that is Bosh’s issue, and the All-Star forward has not made any public statements about the matter.
He’s scheduled to appear at a $225-a-plate private dinner Tuesday to promote the release of a new beer, and the team is hopeful there’s something to announce on his short-term future soon.
“We know he’s going to do everything possible to get back on the court,” Wade said.
Pacers: George made his 300th regular-season start, all with the Pacers. Hill made his 300th career start, the first 55 of those coming with San Antonio before he joined the Pacers. … Ellis was shaken up with a leg issue in the fourth quarter, but stayed in the game.
Heat: X-rays were negative on Udrih. … The Heat were without assistant coach Juwan Howard, who was in Chicago following the death of his mother. Miami is also still without assistant Keith Smart, who is recovering from skin cancer surgery and chemotherapy.
Whiteside’s first rebound was the 1,000th of his Heat career, in 95 games. That’s the fastest anyone has reached that milestone in Heat history, ahead of Alonzo Mourning (96), Kevin Willis (98) and Shaquille O’Neal (99), and it came one game after Whiteside was the quickest to record 300 blocks in a Miami uniform. “It matters because it’s history. It’s Heat history,” Whiteside said.
Pacers: Host New York on Wednesday.
Heat: Host Golden State on Wednesday.