NBA

Miami Heat suffer painful loss to rival Pacers

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LeBron James and the Miami Heat suffered an early-season setback on Tuesday night, with Erik Spoelstra's men having endured a morale-sapping 90-84 loss at the hands of the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

In the first meeting of the new campaign between the two teams who contested a thrilling Eastern Conference finals series last season, the Pacers' star triumvirate of David West, Paul George and Roy Hibbert all-combined to hand Frank Vogel's men the perfect tonic after the embarrassment of Sunday's drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Hibbert had 24 points, while West and George each had 17 with the former adding nine rebounds in front of a raucous crowd that have now seen 10 straight home victories for the Pacers.

The visitors, meanwhile, effectively lost the game with a weak second half display. Reigning MVP LeBron James could only muster 17 points on 6-16 shooting, while Wade also had 17, six rebounds and six assists.

Only one other Heat starter managed to reach double digits in scoring, with Chris Bosh netting 12. 

Despite this potentially dispiriting loss, the 16-6 Heat still sit comfortably second in the Eastern Conference standings and will have a chance to close the gap on the irrepressible Pacers with a home tie against Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. 

Next up for the Pacers, who boast an NBA-best record of 19-3 following their most recent triumph and are quickly becoming many people's favourites to stop the Heat's chances of achieving a historic 'threepeat' is a game against the improved Charlotte Bobcats on Friday.

Topics:
Miami Heat
Eastern Conference
Indiana Pacers
NBA
LeBron James

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