Game Rewind: Pacers 86, Heat 83 (Summer League)

By David Benner | Pacers.com

The Indiana Pacers ran their record to 3-0 in the Mountain Dew Orlando Pro Summer League here Monday with an 86-83 victory over the Miami Heat.

Unlike their first two victories, the Pacers faced a hurdle in the form of a 10-point halftime deficit, but rallied back in the second half behind the play of many contributors: Chris Johnson, T.J. Leaf, Jarnell Stokes, Joe Young and Rakeem Christmas.

Stokes and Christmas in particular played huge roles in the second half by slowing Miami’s No. 1 draft choice, Bam Adebayo from Kentucky, who finished with 29 points (13 of those from the line) and 11 rebounds.

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With both teams struggling from the 3-point line (Pacers 4-for-27, Miami 3-for-24), it became a game that was to be decided on the inside. Which is where the Pacers won it with 17 offensive rebounds that led to 29 second-chance points.

“The biggest thing was this was really the first adversity we had faced with being behind by as many as 11 points,” said Pacers’ Summer league coach Popeye Jones. “But we came together at halftime, there was no griping and we got back in the game. One of the things we talked about from day one was having physical toughness and mental toughness.

“We were behind, shots weren’t falling, guys were tired but we went inside to get our points and that required both mental and physical toughness. Over half our points today were in the paint.”

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Leaf, the Pacers’ No. 1 draft pick from UCLA, led the Pacers with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Young had 17 with six assists, Stokes 14 and seven rebounds, Johnson 12, and Christmas, in his first game after recovering from a sprained ankle, had nine points and five rebounds. Young also sustained a dislocated finger in the third quarter, but came back in the fourth.

Travis Leslie, who led the Pacers in their first two games with 20 in each, had a tough night shooting (2 of 10) and finished with four points.

The Pacers play Dallas (2-0) today (3:00 p.m., NBATV) before getting Wednesday off. Thursday will be the final day with the teams seeded according to points earned in the four games they played. Teams get one point for winning a quarter, four points for winning a game. The Pacer currently lead with 19.5 over Oklahoma City (13.5) and Dallas (12). They each have played just two games.

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