(INDIANAPOLIS) — In a clash of two of the Eastern Conference’s best teams, Paul George set out to prove which squad is better.
George and Roy Hibbert combined to score 41 points as the Indiana Pacers rallied to defeat the Miami Heat 90-84 on Tuesday night.
It was just the first of four meetings between the Pacers (19-3) and Heat this season, but George wanted his team to set the tone early after losing to Miami in Game Seven of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
“It was fun, a real intense game,” George said. “Both teams were playing at a high level. You could see an urgency to win this game tonight.
Indiana improved to 10-0 at home this year, and currently lead the Heat (16-6) by three games for the best record in the conference.
The Heat led by seven points at halftime, but George and Hibbert turned up their intensity and sent the defending champs to their third loss in the last five games.
“I thought we brought it tonight,” Heat forward LeBron James said after a 17 point, 14 rebound effort. “We know they’re a very good defensive team. I thought they hit some tough shots and they attacked the rim real well but even though they had us down by 10 rebounds, I thought we rebounded well and we battled.”
The teams will meet again in Miami on December 18.
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Jill Martin, CNN