Bruce Brown
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Game Rewind: Pacers 144, Heat 129

Saturday, Dec. 2 at 8:00 PM ET at Kaseya Center

Game Recap: Pacers 144, Heat 129

Game Recap

On Saturday night in South Florida, the Indiana Pacers found themselves in a near-identical situation to where they were two days earlier: holding a single-digit lead, on the road, against the Miami Heat heading into the fourth quarter.

This time, however, the Blue & Gold shined brighter down the stretch – and without their All-Star point guard, Tyrese Haliburton, who was out due to illness.

After a slow start, the Pacers (10-8) scored 38-plus points in each of the final three quarters to come away with a 144-127 weekend win over the Heat (11-9) in the Magic City. In the second half, the Pacers shot an outstanding 78.9 percent overall, and outscored the Heat 79-64.

With the victory over the Heat on Saturday, Pacers head Rick Carlisle earned his 251st win with the Blue and Gold and surpassed Frank Vogel (250) for most head coaching wins in Pacers NBA franchise history.

Indiana snapped a two-game skid with the win, and now turns its attention to a matchup circled on the calendar. On Monday, the Pacers will host the Boston Celtics (15-4) in the Quarterfinals of the inaugural In-Season Tournament. Buy your tickets now to be a part of history and help pack Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

“It was a very determined effort by our guys tonight, particularly with Tyrese’s absence,” Carlisle said. “Some guys were thrust into some new situations. The start wasn’t awesome, but the fight was there from start to finish. Eventually, we created enough separation to finish the game. Great win, and now we look forward to a really great opportunity on Monday."

Saturday night’s game marked the second meeting between the teams in three days. The Heat beat the Blue & Gold 142-132 on Thursday.

Indiana’s bench supplied 64 points in the win – well above its 46.4 average – and six players logged double-digit scoring.

First-year Pacer Bruce Brown scored a season-best 30 points (11-for-16 shooting), while Aaron Nesmith and T.J. McConnell each chipped in 20 points off the bench, Myles Turner had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Bennedict Mathurin accounted for 16 points. McConnell also had 11 assists for his first double-double of the season.

“Miami is a team that wears you down and makes you work every possession,” McConnell said. “It's really like a playoff game, and every possession does matter. When we focus-in on the defensive end, we know we can do offensively. It's about us locking in on that end and we did a great job.”

Seven players scored in double figures for the Heat. All-Star forward Jimmy Butler led Miami with 33 points, Caleb Martin chipped in 18, Duncan Robinson scored 17, and Orlando Robinson and Josh Richardson each added 16.

Both teams were without All-Stars in the matchup, as Heat center Bam Adebayo didn’t play due to a hip injury sustained during Thursday’s game.

Thanks to an 8-foot jumper from McConnell before the halftime buzzer, the Pacers and Heat were tied at 65 at intermission.

The Pacers’ bench was integral to keeping it close early, as it accounted for 44 of the visitors’ points in the first 24 minutes. Duncan Robinson scored 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting and Richardson scored 14 in the first half.

Despite shooting 1-for-10 from the field in the opening four minutes of the game, and 36 percent overall in the first frame, the Pacers stayed within a possession of the lead in the early minutes.

From 6:20 to 3:10 in the first quarter, the Heat strung together a 12-5 run thanks to seven points by Kevin Love, a trey by Duncan Robinson, and a bucket by Caleb Martin, to lead 20-12. 

Indiana finally got its offense going in the last three minutes of the period, with Isaiah Jackson scoring six points, Mathurin putting in five, and McConnell adding four. 

Still, the Heat stayed ahead at 31-25 by the end of the first quarter.

After the Pacers cut it to three points 90 seconds into the second quarter, Duncan Robinson scored seven straight points for his squad to put the Heat up 43-33 with 8:04 left in the half. Indiana was able to narrow the score to three points four times, in part thanks to 13 second-quarter points by Nesmith, but the Blue & Gold couldn't pull ahead. 

In the last 1:25 of the half, the Pacers went on a 9-2 thanks to five points by Brown and a buzzer-beating jumper from McConnell.

Out of halftime, the Pacers came out firing. In the third quarter, the Blue & Gold outscored the Heat 41-33.

From 10:59 to 7:51 in the third frame, the Pacers went on a 15-2 scoring spree that saw Brown, Hield and Toppin each hitting 3-pointers. The stretch was punctuated by an alley-oop dunk from Hield to Toppin to put the Blue & Gold ahead 82-72.

Butler got his offense going as well in the third quarter, scoring nine straight points for the Heat to narrow the score to 91-86 with 4:05 left in the frame.

The teams largely traded baskets the remainder of the period, but the Pacers stayed ahead at 106-98 heading into the last 12 minutes of play.

In the first three and a half minutes of the final frame, the Pacers went on a 9-3 run – capped by a 3-pointer by Brown – to lead 115-103. 

While the Heat tried to pull back within striking distance, the Pacers answered every mini 5-0 run and 3-point basket in the remaining minutes. Indiana closed the game on a 17-7 run in the final four minutes. 

From 4:36 to 3:15 the Pacers went on a 10-2 run, thanks to six points from Toppin, to boost the lead to 137-123. From there, the Heat never recovered.

McConnell registered eight points and six assists in the fourth quarter and Brown scored 12 points in the frame.

The Pacers took advantage of Adebayo’s absence, outscoring the Heat 76-68 in the paint. Indiana also limited the Heat to zero fast-break points.

Inside the Numbers

Myles Turner has scored in double figures in 14 straight games. He has also now recorded five double-doubles this season.

Starting in place of Haliburton, second-year guard Andrew Nembhard recorded a season-high 11 assists.

Indiana assisted on 35 total basket’s while Miami had 27 dimes.

After shooting 45 free throws on Thursday, the Heat took 24 shots from the charity stripe on Saturday.

Obi Toppin finished with a career-best four blocks in the game.

Indiana Pacers Postgame Media Availability (at Miami Heat) | December 2, 2023

You Can Quote Me On That

“When you miss an all-NBA type player like Tyrese (Haliburton), it's the next-man-up mentality. We obviously miss a guy like that, but it takes every guy one through 15 when your franchise guy is out. Credit to our group, and we're ready to have Tyrese back for sure.” – McConnell on the team playing without Haliburton

“It’s not about me. I mean, it's about us. I feel like we let one slip away on Thursday, and we corrected the mistakes that we made and we came in as a group and got it done.” – McConnell on the win

"I feel like if people don't know, the guy is a three-level scorer. ... I don't think people realize how good off a floater and mid-range game he has. It's really, really good, and he's able to get to the rim. He shows that when he gets the opportunity to showcase that." -- McConnell on Brown

“When you play Miami, you’ve gotta have your best competitors on the floor. T.J. is one of our best competitors for sure. With Ty being out, it obviously thrust him right into the mix. From the very start of the game, he had a major impact. Impact defensively, impact scoring the ball, impact creating pace. … I can’t say enough great things about him.”  – Carlisle on McConnell

“Jimmy Butler is one of the best players in the world. He’s very smart, very crafty and very strong. Exceedingly skilled. We felt that after game one, putting size on him would be something that might help. We just tried to stay disciplined around the basket and make him take tough shots over us. … Obi’s effort really on him, and one or two other guys he guarded, was terrific.” – Carlisle on Toppin’s defensive assignment on Butler

“The In-Season Tournament has given us the opportunity to play some really meaningful games. Now we’re in the quarter and we’re at home. The opportunity to play at home in an in-season playoff game is a significant opportunity. I just want to make every appeal to our fans – we need the loudest building possible.” – Carlisle on the In-Season Tournament and playing Boston

“We just got downhill, trusted each other and made the extra pass every time. T.J. came in and gave us a spark and Drew (Nembhard) had a great night just finding everyone. It was just a great night for everyone.” – Bruce Brown on the win

“Just staying down and knowing our personeel. Jimmy (Butler) is going to get to the line -- he’s super aggressive. We did a great job of being disciplined.“ – Brown on the defensive effort

“I was aggressive. We were in this situation before in Boston when Ty was out and I only had two points, and that’s unacceptable. I took on a challenge mentally.” – Brown on his scoring

"It's going to be electric, I already know. Boston, we had a tough game up there in the beginning of the year but I think everyone is ready for what it brings. I think we have a different energy with (the In-Season Tournament). It's a real playoff atmosphere at Gainbridge. It's going to be fun, electric, exciting, and you don't want to miss it."-- Myles Turner on the IST

Stat of the Night

Six players scored in double figures for the Pacers: three in the starting unit, and three on the bench. The Pacers are 9-2 when six or more players score in double figures this season.


  • Saturday's game was the second time the Pacers played an opponent in two straight games on the road this season. Indiana played at Philadelphia on Nov. 12 and Nov. 14, going 1-1 with the 76ers during the stretch -- winning the second game.
  • Indiana has not won a regular season series against the Heat since its 2020-2021 campaign. Last year, the teams split the series 2-2. The teams will play their third and final game on April 7.
  • The Pacers are 1-1 in games when Tyrese Haliburton doesn’t play this season.
  • 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro hasn’t suited up for the Heat since Nov. 8 due to an ankle injury. 

Up Next

The Pacers will host the Boston Celtics at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for the first-ever In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal game on Monday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 PM ET. Find Tickets >>