INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Paul George was struggling, and the Indiana Pacers needed a hero to combat a strong performance from Miami's 1-2 punch of Dwayne Wade and Chris Both.
Monta Ellis emphatically asserted himself when the Pacers needed it most.
Ellis had his most complete game of the year, leading the Pacers with 24 points, six assists and six steals in a 96-83 win over the Heat that ended a three-game losing streak.
His third quarter play, specifically, swayed the game in Indiana's favor.
"He came out (after halftime) and said 'Enough is enough,'" Pacers coach Frank Vogel said right after the game. "He willed us to victory with his defensive intensity."
Ellis's nine points, four assists and steal in the third quarter helped push the Pacers to a 77-68 advantage entering the final period after trailing 48-47 at halftime. His play sparked a 17-6 run, and while Ellis was flying around the court, Pacers center Ian Mahinmi was holding down the lane.
Mahinmi scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. After giving up more than 120 points in three consecutive games, Mahinmi said the Pacers went into Friday's game against Miami focused on playing better defense than they recently had been.
"We had two days to prepare for those guys," Mahinmi said. "It was a good win for us and we want to build off this."
Bosh finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds but did most of his work in the first half. He had 14 points and eight rebounds at the break. Wade also cooled in the second half, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Heat, who dropped their third straight game. Gerald Green had 13 points off the bench for Miami.
The Heat dropped their ninth consecutive game at Indiana. ... With his 20 points, Dwyane Wade passed Gail Goodrich for 48th place on the career scoring list. ... Miami as a team recorded eight blocks and were leading the NBA in blocks entering this game. ... Indiana had allowed 120 points or more in three straight games but moved to 6-0 this season when holding opponents to fewer than 90. ... George passed the 5,000 career mark for points with 23. ... Indiana is now 7-1 this season when forcing at least 18 turnovers.
Indiana plays at Detroit on Saturday.
Miami hosts Memphis on Sunday.