The Pacers hung tough with the Miami Heat for most of their playoff opener on Tuesday afternoon in Orlando. But Goran Dragic scored 14 points in the fourth quarter as Miami pulled away late for a 113-101 Game 1 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round series.
The Pacers trailed by just one point entering the fourth quarter and briefly moved in front early in the final frame, taking an 87-85 lead on JaKarr Sampson's layup with 9:43 remaining. Kelly Olynyk tied the game 11 seconds later, however.
That basket was the start of a 16-6 run by the Heat. Dragic took over during that span, scoring 10 of Miami's last 12 points and extending the lead to 101-93 on a 3-pointer with 5:20 to play.
Malcolm Brogdon dished to Myles Turner for a dunk with 3:41 left, Indiana's first basket in 2:24. But Jimmy Butler answered with a 3-pointer on the other end. Shortly thereafter, Butler tied up T.J. Warren, won the ensuing jump ball, and then hit an off-balance three to give the Heat a 12-point lead with 2:29 to play, effectively sealing the victory.
"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."
Brogdon finished with 22 points and 10 assists for Indiana, recording a double-double in his first playoff game with the Blue & Gold. Brogdon went just 6-for-16 from the field, but 9-for-10 from the free throw line.
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.
"It was more intense," Warren said of his first taste of the postseason. "We've got to value all our possessions more. Definitely a different type of physical game. My first playoffs, it was definitely a new experience for me. I can't wait for Game 2."
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.
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The Heat scored the first five points of Tuesday's game and jumped out to an 8-2 lead after a Duncan Robinson 3-pointer. But the Pacers clawed back thanks to Warren and Brogdon. Warren hit his first two shots while Brogdon tallied six points and three assists in the first eight minutes, dishing ahead to Edmond Sumner for a breakaway layup to give Indiana its first lead, 20-18, with 4:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Pacers guard Victor Oladipo was poked in the left eye with 3:28 remaining in the opening quarter and the game tied at 20. After a timeout, Oladipo knocked down two free throws before Indiana committed a foul to allow him to sub out and head to the locker room for examination.
Oladipo did not return the rest of the night and went to an on-site clinic after the game for further evaluation. The initial evaluation showed no immediate concerns and Oladipo will continue to be monitored over the coming days. He is considered day to day.
Shortly thereafter, the Pacers strung together an 11-3 run — featuring four more points by Warren — to open up an eight-point lead. Two Tyler Herro free throws trimmed Indiana's lead to 33-27 heading into the second quarter.
The Blue & Gold's lead was short-lived, however. Both teams opened the second quarter with their second units and Miami's reserves reeled off seven straight points in a 59-second span early in the frame, tying the game at 37 on Herro's alley-oop to Andre Iguodala off a Pacers turnover with 9:02 left in the first half.
Following a timeout, Justin Holiday buried a 3-pointer to spark a 6-0 Indiana run. But the Heat answered by scoring the next nine points to move back in front. The Pacers briefly tied the game on Holiday's third three of the first half with 4:29 remaining, but Miami retook the lead on Butler's dunk a minute later and remained in front until the break.
Butler and Bam Adebayo combined to score the Heat's last 12 points of the first half to take a 56-52 lead into halftime.
Miami used a 10-2 run midway through the third quarter to open up a 10-point lead. Warren kept the Blue & Gold within striking distance, scoring 10 points in the frame on 4-of-5 shooting.
Indiana then closed the quarter with a furious rally. The Pacers trailed 80-71 before Brogdon hit a 3-pointer with 2:22 left. Sumner added a layup 31 seconds later to make it a four-point game. After Derrick Jones Jr. converted one of two free throws, Brogdon blew by the defense for a layup at 1:15 and then T.J. McConnell hit a fallaway jumper with 41.7 seconds left to make it a one-point game.
After a stop, Brogdon actually had a shot to give the Pacers the lead in the closing seconds of the third quarter, but he missed a fadeaway just before the buzzer, allowing Miami to take an 81-80 lead into the fourth.
That's where Dragic took over, scoring 14 points in the final frame on 6-of-10 shooting.
"We've just got to be more physical and get more length on him," Brogdon said of Miami's Slovenian point guard. "...He's a guy who's a seasoned vet. He plays at his pace, only takes shots that he's comfortable with, and down the stretch he knows how to wins games."
Holiday finished with 11 points off the bench, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. Sampson added 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Turner narrowly missed out on a double-double, finishing with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting, nine rebounds, and three blocks.
Adebayo finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks for Miami, while Herro added 15 points and four assists off the bench.
The Pacers and Heat will have less than 48 hours before taking the court again for Game 2, which is scheduled for 1:00 PM ET on Thursday afternoon.
Inside the Numbers
The Heat scored 23 points off 15 Pacers turnovers. Indiana, meanwhile, managed just 12 points off of nine Miami giveaways.
Brogdon recorded his second career postseason double-double on Tuesday. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Milwaukee against Toronto in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
Starting Pacers guard Aaron Holiday showed flashes of promise offensively, scoring nine points on 3-of-5 shooting and dishing out two assists, but was limited to just over 16 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
Dragic scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half.
Butler went 8-for-15 from the field and 10-for-12 from the free throw line. As a team, the Heat went 20-for-25 from the charity stripe, while the Pacers went 19-for-22.
You Can Quote Me On That
"We weren't able to get stops. It's really that simple. We weren't able to get stops and they were able to make shots." -Brogdon on the difference down the stretch
"I was expecting some double-teams, a lot of people trying to crowd me whenever I get the ball. I've just got to take my time and kind of survey the defense." -Warren on being the focal point of Miami's defense
"His vision was really blurry. He really couldn't see out of his eye when we spoke to him at halftime. He was going (to the hospital) to get that checked out." -McMillan on Oladipo's eye injury
"Dynamics change, but that's been one of our strengths all season is we haven't had every guy down the stretch...With or without Vic, we've got to be able to adjust." -Brogdon
"He's the head of the snake over there. He runs that team offensively, does a good job of initiating the offense, setting guys up as well as scoring. Tonight we did a good job of shutting down their other guys and he started scoring." -McMillan on Butler
Stat of the Night
Dragic and Butler combined for 24 of Miami's 32 points in the fourth quarter. Dragic had 14 points, while Butler added 10. The Pacers, meanwhile, managed just 21 points in the final frame, going 7-for-19 from the field with four turnovers.
- In addition to Warren, Sampson also played in his first career playoff game on Tuesday.
- Heat guard Kendrick Nunn, Miami's fourth-leading scorer at 15.3 points per game, was active but did not play in Game 1. Nunn had started all 67 games in which he played this season but was replaced in the starting lineup on Tuesday by Dragic.
- This was the first playoff game between the Pacers and the Heat since the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. Miami won that series in six games to advance to its fourth straight NBA Finals.
The Pacers and Heat will meet again for Game 2 on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 1:00 PM ET. The game will be televised locally on FOX Sports Indiana and nationally on ESPN.