MIAMI – The Indiana Pacers had their way with the Miami Heat on Saturday night at the Kaseya Center, beating Miami 144-129. This is the second series of “two game in three day series” at home for Miami. They have one against the Chicago Bulls in December and one against the Toronto Raptors in the spring.
The Heat were shorthanded, missing both Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro from the active roster, and it really showed in their play. Butler scored 33 points and attempted the heroics that he is known for, trying to push the Heat offense, but Indiana’s 60% 3-point shooting was just too much, and that was without their best player, Tyrese Haliburton, who was also out with an injury.
None of the other Heat players broke the 20-point mark, which was a problem. Duncan Robinson scored 17 points, while Orlando Robinson contributed 16 among the Miami starters.
Caleb Martin played a solid 35 minutes and added 18 points off the bench, and Jaime Jaquez Jr was scoreless in the first half but came back in the second half and scored 11 off the bench.
Indiana’s hot shooting disrupted the Heat’s defense. Guarding against the three-point shots left openings in the paint as well as mid-range shots. The Heat were being hit on all fronts.
“I mean, the first thing you have to credit is Indiana,” said Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra. “You take out their best player, the guy who drives this offense, and they didn’t slow down one bit. And that’s the part of the game that we could never just get a handle on.”
He continued, “The pride of their second unit and McConnell was outstanding. You know, tonight, that second unit just sped this thing up even more, and they got into such a great groove. Basically, whatever the situation was, we could not contain the ball off the dribble, whether it was one-on-one closeouts, pick-and-rolls, or random drives. We could never just stay in front of the ball. And it was one of our worst ball containment games of the season.”
“We didn’t do our job tonight,” said Jimmy Butler. “You’re only as good as your last game. That’s what I’ve always been taught. That’s where we live. We didn’t do our job. And we’ve got to do something to fix it very quickly.”
With the teams scoring 25 and 31 points in the first quarter, the Pacers went on to have 40-plus point quarters for the rest of the game, and the Heat couldn’t catch up.
After a game like this, it’s time for the Heat to take a gut check. Despite the team’s prior success, this loss is a reminder of the work that still needs to be done.
“We didn’t do anything that we talked about doing,” said Butler. “I think the coaches did a great job of putting us in a position to win. We didn’t execute. We didn’t come out ready to play. And that’s what happens. Our offense has been mediocre. You talk about our defense has been mediocre. So that’s the word that we use.”
The Heat head out on the road to face the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, December 6, then off to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Friday, December 8th. They return home to face the Charlotte Hornets on Monday, December 11th.