Pacers string together stops, get contributions from all over to split weekend series in Miami
After losing by 10 points on Friday, the Pacers responded without their leader and put away the Heat 144-129 behind four 20-point scorers.
The Indiana Pacers shot a season-high 66% in an offensive showcase, a 144-129 win in Miami. It was an impressive response to a tough loss two nights earlier inside Kaseya Center. But it was a defensive stretch early in the second half that changed that game and stood out most.
So we’re going to start there.
But first, I should mention how All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton was unavailable and did not appear to be on the bench. He did not play due to an upper respiratory infection and bone bruise in his right knee. I wasn’t surprised to see him sit out, able to have three days between games leading up to the tournament quarterfinal matchup on Monday.
So for the second time this season, they were without their leader — and we all remember what happened last time, a 51-point loss in Boston.
To close out a back-and-forth first half, T.J. McConnell sank a jump shot from eight feet out that knotted the score at 65. They had to be happy it was that close after the way it started.
Out of the locker room for the second half, they picked it up and came out with an edge. They went on a 15-2 run, including 10 straight points while getting three straight stops. That’s what key to watch from this team. They’re going to score — but could they string together multiple defensive stops?
That’s the key question in every game.