• PACERS STOP DEFENDING CHAMP HEAT IN SERIES OPENER

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    Paul George No.24 of the Indiana Pacers passes the ball over Dwyane Wade No.3 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. AFP PHOTO

    Paul George No.24 of the Indiana Pacers passes the ball over Dwyane Wade No.3 of the Miami Heat during Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. AFP PHOTO

    INDIANAPOLIS: Paul George tallied 24 points and six assists as the Indiana Pacers pounded reigning NBA champion Miami 107-96 Sunday (Monday in Manila) in the opening game of their Eastern Conference final series.

    The Pacers started quickly by draining six of their first seven three-point attempts en route to a wire-to-wire victory to begin the best-of-seven series against the two-time defending National Basketball Association champions.

    “We have been struggling in the opening games of playoff series at home,” George said. “If we were to lose the first game against a great club like the Miami Heat it would have made this a very long series.

    “We came out with a great urgency to get this one.”

    The Pacers shot 59 percent from the field in the first half to lead 55-45 at half-time in front of a crowd of 18,165 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

    Indiana continued to dictate the pace in the second half, leading by as much as 19 in the third quarter.

    This is a rematch of last year’s conference championship, which was won in seven games by the Heat. Miami also defeated Indiana in the quarter-final round of the 2012 playoffs.

    Game two is Tuesday in Indianapolis.

    The winner of this series will play either San Antonio or Oklahoma City in next month’s NBA finals.

    AFP

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