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Indiana’s juggernaut continues


Indiana guard Reggie Miller celebrates a basket during the third quarter of the Pacers' victory over Miami on Saturday.Indiana guard Reggie Miller celebrates a basket during the third quarter of the Pacers' victory over Miami on Saturday.
 (Associated PressAssociated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Indiana guard Reggie Miller celebrates a basket during the third quarter of the Pacers' victory over Miami on Saturday.Indiana guard Reggie Miller celebrates a basket during the third quarter of the Pacers' victory over Miami on Saturday. (Associated PressAssociated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Jon Krawczynski Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers are dominating the playoffs like no other team in NBA history.

Reggie Miller scored 19 points in 18 minutes Saturday night to lead Indiana to a 91-80 win over Miami, the Pacers’ NBA-record sixth straight double-digit playoff victory.

The previous record for was five, held by the 1985 Los Angeles Lakers and 1947 Philadelphia Warriors.

Ron Artest had 20 points and five assists for the Pacers, who take a 2-0 series lead to Miami – where the Heat have won 16 straight games – for Monday’s Game 3.

And the Pacers don’t even think they’ve peaked, yet.

“We can play much better,” Miller said. “We’re finding ways to win, which is encouraging, but we have to play better.”

Miller’s biggest shot was a 3-pointer off one leg with Eddie Jones’ hand in his face to beat the second-quarter buzzer and get the Pacers rolling.

“Reggie Miller just killed us,” Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. “He’s done it before. We’re not the first team he’s done it to. It’s not a coincidence when he makes big shots.”

The Heat were in it in the first half, despite shooting just 37 percent from the floor. Jones hit two free throws to bring Miami within five before a critical mistake at the buzzer.

With 1.6 seconds to play in the half, Jones allowed Miller to catch a inbounds lob at the top of the key. Miller heaved a shot that swished at the buzzer for a 44-36 lead.

“The one going into the half was a heartbreaker for us,” said Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who had 19 points, five assists and six turnovers.

Miller added two more 3-pointers in the first 4:30 of the second half to hold off the hard-charging Heat.

“He was playing within the offense and he was on fire,” Artest said. “It seems like he’s always on fire in big games.”

Lamar Odom led Miami with 19 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 4:05 to play. Miami battled throughout, but again got bogged down in the Pacers’ preferred halfcourt style.

After outscoring the Pacers 14-0 in transition in Game 1, the Heat managed just eight fastbreak points on Saturday and couldn’t find good shots against the Pacers’ suffocating halfcourt defense.

Miami shot 40.5 percent for the game and was 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

The Pacers, on the other hand, made seven 3s to offset being dominated on the boards again.

“It’s the same old problems for us,” Van Gundy said. “We competed hard. We attacked the basket, but they were just too much. They have too many weapons.”

Miami does have reason for optimism heading into Game 3. In the first two games of the series, the undersized Heat have outrebounded Indiana 91-77 and held All-Star Jermaine O’Neal in check.

O’Neal, who finished third in the MVP voting, had 17 points on 5-for-15 shooting and spent most of Game 2 in foul trouble. In Game 1, O’Neal scored 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting.

“I’m putting too much pressure on myself to make things happen,” O’Neal said. “I just have to relax and let the game come to me.”

Still, the Heat only have two losses to show for their effort as they head back to AmericanAirlines Arena, where they haven’t lost since March 2 and always seem to play at a faster pace.

“Somehow, some way, we have more fast break points at home in Miami,” Miami forward Caron Butler said. “I don’t understand it, but we play so much better in the fast-break game at home.”

The Pacers extended their lead to 20 points in the fourth quarter with reserves Anthony Johnson, Jonathan Bender, Austin Croshere and Scot Pollard on the floor.

It wasn’t all good news for Indiana. Starting center Jeff Foster left the game in the third quarter with a bruised right hip. Foster is one of the team’s best rebounders.

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