Pacers lose chess match in Miami, drop 10th straight road game: Running Thoughts
The Heat minimized Tyrese Haliburton's offense and Bennedict Mathurin spent most of the game on the bench, a season-low 14 minutes.
Here are my running thoughts from the Pacers’ 116-111 loss to the Miami Heat Wednesday night at Miami-Dade Arena.
Chris Duarte is available after sitting out of Sunday’s game with left ankle soreness. He practiced on Monday and went through shootaround.
You can tell Haliburton truly respects Miami and coach Erik Spoelstra. The Heat are a smart team, they adapt and try to make opponents uncomfortable. “This is gonna be a big game, in terms of at the end of the year, you want to be winning that season series and not be tied. I’m looking forward to the chess match that will be there between us and coach Spo.”
And after wearing a heavy brace for his left elbow sprain, the training staff said he doesn’t have to anymore. “I was shooting it poorly and it’s hard not to blame this big-ass JJ Watt brace on my arm. But what can you do? I’m excited because they told me I ain’t got to wear the brace anymore, so thank God. Now if I’m missing shots, I can only blame myself.”
One Year Ago: Pacers acquired Haliburton and Buddy Hield from Sacramento. Haliburton then: "It's been a whirlwind. It's been crazy, a lot of emotions. But I'm excited to be here and excited to get started."
The Heat are without Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson and Victor Oladipo due to injuries.
At practice on Monday, Rick Carlisle emphasized to the team that they must get back to playing their style, which starts with a passionate spirit. They watched clips of portions of the season where they had success and played to their strengths.
“When you have tough nights, you got to hit the reset button and re-identify who you are and how you need to play. We had a good, spirited practice today to hopefully get back to that.”
This is the Pacers’ final game before the trade deadline, Thursday at 3 ET. Here’s what I wrote entering the final 24 hours. (FO stands for front office)
Pacers most often start slow shooting from outside, but not in this one. 3 for 3. (Then they missed their next four attempts. Of course.)
23-9: After being tied at nine, the Heat scored the next 14 points to take a double-digit lead. Heat dictating the game early on.
Daniel Theis continuing to get backup center minutes. His first stint was 10 minutes.
T.J. McConnell giving the Pacers a lift after they got down by 16. He’s 4 for 4 with nine points.
All-Star Bam Adebayo just beats the clock with a jumper to give the Heat a 39-30 lead. Haliburton played the entire quarter but seemed more focused on getting teammates involved so he piled up six assists.
Haliburton on Miami’s defense going into the game: “Definitely expect to see some different things throughout the game and I think that’s the beauty of the game of basketball — you can just mix it up and see so many different things as the games go on.”
(The Heat made 4 of 6 3s in the first 12 minutes, then went 2 for 13 the rest of the game.)
Between quarters, the Heat congratulated LeBron James for becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer last night against Oklahoma City.
8:45: McConnell not hesitating to shoot 3-pointers anymore and for good reason: he’s making them. Now 2 for 2 with a game-high 14 points. They need for another bench player to step up with him as they’re within two points.
Carlisle postgame: “T.J. was amazing in the first half and real gritty in the second half.”
7:09: Bennedict Mathurin is subbed out and is visibly upset, pulling his jersey over his head. He’s had a tough stretch the last few games and only got one shot attempt in his first stint.
I went back and watched his minutes. He gave up a corner 3 and turned it over once on offense. They did not get him involved offensively and that’s on the point guards. I did not see enough to warrant his low minutes.