After dropping Game 1 to the Heat on Tuesday, the Pacers will look to bounce back on Thursday afternoon and even the series.
All things considered, the Pacers acquitted themselves well in Game 1 despite the end result. Already without All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis, Indiana lost two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo to an eye injury late in the first quarter. Starting guard Aaron Holiday was also limited to just 16 minutes due to foul trouble, but yet the Pacers found themselves up two with under 10 minutes to play.
But things got away from the Blue & Gold down the stretch. Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler hit some big shots and Miami's defense forced Indiana into some crucial turnovers as the Heat outscored the Pacers 32-21 in the fourth quarter on their way to a 113-111 win.
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The biggest question heading into Game 2 is the availability of Oladipo. The star guard's left eye swelled up quickly on Tuesday, enough that he was unable to return. He visited the NBA's on-campus clinic after the game, but further evaluation showed no immediate concerns. The Pacers training staff will continue to monitor Oladipo, who is considered day to day.
Defensively, the Pacers' focus will remain on Butler and Dragic. Indiana did a solid job of sticking to Miami's shooters, but that enabled Butler and Dragic to attack the defense and create for themselves. Butler alone attempted 12 free throws, a figure that the Pacers will hope to lower in Game 2.
The unique circumstances of the NBA bubble in Orlando also present a different test for both teams. In a normal series, the Pacers would have their fans backing them in Game 2, but homecourt advantage takes on a different meaning in the bubble. And the condensed schedule also means less time between games. Indiana and Miami will tip off Game 2 a little over 42 hours after they finished Game 1.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG -Victor Oladipo, SF - Aaron Holiday, PF - T.J. Warren, C - Myles Turner
Heat: PG - Goran Dragic, SG - Duncan Robinson, SF - Jimmy Butler, PF - Jae Crowder, C - Bam Adebayo
Pacers: Victor Oladipo - questionable (left eye contusion), Jeremy Lamb - out (torn left ACL), Domantas Sabonis - out (left foot plantar fasciitis)
Heat: Jae Crowder - questionable (left ankle sprain), KZ Okpala - out (personal reasons), Gabe Vincent - out (right shoulder sprain)
Aug. 18, 2020: Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic combined for 24 points in the fourth quarter as Miami pulled away late for a 113-101 win in Game 1. Indiana trailed by just one entering the fourth quarter and led briefly early in the final frame, but the Heat seized control with a 16-6 run and never looked back.
"I thought they picked up their intensity the second half," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the loss. "The fourth quarter we started to turn the ball over more and they executed down the stretch and (were) able to get control of the game."
Malcolm Brogdon finished with 22 points and 10 assists for Indiana, recording a double-double in his first playoff game with the Pacers. T.J. Warren, making his playoff debut, tallied 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting (4-of-5 from 3-point range), eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
Butler finished with a team-high 28 points for Miami to go along with three boards, four assists, two blocks, and four steals. Dragic added 24 points, going 4-for-9 from 3-point range, and tallied six rebounds and five assists.
- Game 1 was the first time since the NBA restart that the Pacers have lost a designated home game. Indiana went 4-0 in their "home games" during the seeding games.
- Rookie guard Kendrick Nunn, who averaged 15.3 points per game and started 67 games for the Heat during the regular season, was active but did not play in Game 1. Nunn was replaced in the starting lineup by Dragic.
- The Pacers are 0-12 in NBA franchise history in playoff series where they drop the first two games.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
ESPN - Mark Jones (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst), Malika Andrews (sideline reporter)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)