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NBA Playoff Picture: Pacers knock off Heat as Paul George returns

The Indiana Pacers moved to within a game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with a blowout win over the Miami Heat on Sunday.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George returned to the court on Sunday for the first time since suffering a gruesome leg injury at the Team USA showcase eight months ago. George finished with 13 points in 15 minutes off the bench helping the Pacers to a 112-89 win over the Miami Heat.

With the win, Indiana moves into a tie with the Heat and pull within a game of the Boston Celtics for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Miami has lost four straight at the worst possible time and continue to pile up injuries in the process. The Heat played without centers Hassan Whiteside and Chris Anderson on Sunday and saw forward Michael Beasley exit the game with a knee injury. They have already lost Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts and Shabazz Napier for the remainder of the season.

Here is a look at the up to the minute standings in the Eastern Conference

Team W-L GB Remaining Schedule
7. Brooklyn Nets 35-41 22.0 Por, Atl, Was, @Mil, Chi, Orl
8. Boston Celtics 35-42 22.5 @Det, @Cle, Cle, Tor, @Mil
Indiana Pacers 34-43 23.5 @NY, @Det, OKC, Was, @Mem
Miami Heat 34-43 23.5 Cha, Chi, Tor, Orl, @Phi
Charlotte Hornets 33-43 24.0 @Mia, Tor, @Atl, @Det, Hou, @Tor

Monday's Key Games:

Portland Trail Blazers vs Brooklyn Nets 7 p.m. ET - NBA League Pass

The Trail Blazers make a cross country trip to Brooklyn to make up a snowed out game from January 26 Monday night. Nicolas Batum, Chris Kamen and LaMarcus Aldridge will remain in Portland for rest and will miss Monday's game.