NBA: George, Pacers cool Miami Heat rally

Paul George scored 28 points as the Indiana Pacers held off a late Miami Heat rally to maintain their playoff push on Sunday.

George rallied the Pacers superbly after the Heat recovered from 93-85 down to take the lead with nine unanswered points with 4:10 to go in the fourth quarter.

George hit a three-pointer to put the Pacers back in front before the hosts held on to clinch a 102-98 victory which saw them improve to 34-32.

"We finished it, that's something we build on," George said. "You got to see the positive, we held on to the lead and won the game."

Pacers coach Nate McMillan said his team had regained their composure following a time-out after Miami edged into the lead.

"We just needed to settle down," McMillan said. "They made a run and were able to take the lead. You could feel the air go out of the building.

"We needed to settle down and stay with the game plan. Paul had a hot hand and wanted to make sure we got the ball in his heads."

George's 20-foot jump shot put Indiana back in front before Miami hit back through Dion Waiters.

Jeff Teague restored Indiana's lead at 97-96 and the hosts never relinquished their grip on the game after that point.

Miami, who fell to 32-25, just outside the Eastern Conference playoff places, missed leading scorer Goran Dragic, who was nursing an orbital contusion after suffering a blow to his right eye on Saturday.

Hassan Whiteside, who led the Heat's scorers with 26 points and 21 rebounds, paid tribute to the way Miami had backed up Saturday's road game in Toronto.

"We still played hard," Whiteside said. "It would have been easy to come in here and make excuses. Guys didn't care if we got in at 4:00 am, guys came here and played hard I love these guys."

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said the Pacers' ability to make clutch plays when it mattered had been the difference.

"They made more plays down the stretch," Spoelstra said. "I thought Paul George played like great players do."