Indiana Pacers get first close victory of the season, take down Miami Heat at home
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers’ season has been a simple one. They fall behind after a bad start, then rebound and win if they have a strong fourth quarter.
Friday night was the opposite. The Pacers started well and were down only one point after the first quarter. They were up by 12 at halftime. Despite the Chris Duarte injury , Indiana had a solid start to the game. This is something that has been very rare for them this season.
The blue and gold continued to put pressure on Miami’s defense throughout the second half. This can be difficult. Rick Carlisle, the head coach, discussed the challenges of playing against Miami’s defensive line before the game.
Indiana has been a much better second half team than first half team this season, so a 12-point lead at the break was a big deal. The Heat are not a team that gives up easily and they did so on Friday.
Miami drew Indiana within one point in the third quarter. However, their defense was much more solid to start the second half. They shrunk the floor and made it difficult for the Pacers to get into their offense, Indiana scored just 18 points in the third quarter. The Heat were unable to take the lead due to big shots by Tyrese Haliburton, but they kept the game interesting going into the fourth quarter.
” They’re one of few teams that plays a lot in zone and gives multiple looks, both on full court and half court. After the game, Carlisle stated that Miami was making minor adjustments. “They’re going test you with a bunch different looks defensively. “
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair, it was an excellent game for fans. After holding the lead for much of the second half, the Pacers finally gave it up when Miami tied the game at 94 with 5: 35 to go. The Heat had momentum, and their defense had been great for the better part of the last 20 minutes.
But, the Pacers found a defense gear. They held the Heat to three points in the next five-plus minutes and found themselves up by three with 21.6 on the clock. Miami had the ball.
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Myles Turner blocked a Max Strus layup, but Miami retained possession, so the Pacers intentionally fouled. The Pacers were up one and Miami fouled to send rookie Bennedict Maturin to the line.
He split up the pair, setting up an exciting finish. The Heat had the ball down 101-99 with 7.6 to go. Tyler Herro got the ball at the top key, but he couldn’t make it to the buzzer.
” Rookie guard Andrew Nembhard stated that Herro was stopped on the final possession. Nembhard drew a ton of praise after the game for his play in this game, he was a 13 and made numerous big plays. “I tried to make it a difficult shot. “
The Pacers improved their record to 4-5 with this win. This is their best start in nine games under Carlisle. Speaking of Carlisle, he got his 865th win as a head coach in this game, which moved him into sole possession of 14th place all time.
Buddy Hield was excellent again in this game, scoring 25 points against the connected Heat defense. He had 22 points in the first half. The sweet-shooting guard is averaging nearly 23 points per game in his last five games, and he was crucial in helping Indiana avoid a slow start.
Haliburton nearly finished with a triple-double, posting a stat line of 22 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Not to be outdone, Mathurin finished with 23 points and hit a free throw late to keep the lead at two. He scored seven points in the fourth quarter.
Turner bounced back from a poor game on Monday and finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. He played well against Bam Adebayo which was crucial in the win.
Indiana will be next on the court when they host New Orleans Pelicans. They will be looking to return to. 500, somewhere they have not been since they were 15-15 in February of 2021.
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