After opening the season with two games on the road, the Pacers (1-2) hosted the Miami Heat (1-1) inside the fan-filled Gainbridge Fieldhouse. And the Blue & Gold put on a show.
For the second night in a row, Indiana found themselves playing in overtime. Only this time, they survived. A run of nine straight points in the extra frame helped put away the Heat, 102-91, in front of the home crowd.
“It was a really great effort by our guys,” head coach Rick Carlisle said postgame. “Third game in four nights, playing a team that’s waiting on us.”
“The energy was great in the first half. The second half, fatigue set in a little bit. But, it was a situation where the collective will of the group carried us through somehow.”
The Pacers found themselves ahead by 10 at halftime. However, once again the third quarter woes appeared. The offense managed just eight points in the frame. Luckily, the defense held the Heat to 17. Trailing by six in the fourth, the Blue & Gold put their heads down and powered back to force overtime.
Once again, Chris Duarte proved his talent. The rookie tallied a team-high 19 points, including three clutch free throws in the extra frame. He nearly had the game-winning shot to end the fourth. But, his attempt kicked out of the net at the last second. The squad had big nights from Oshae Brissett (18 points) and Jeremy Lamb (12 points) off the bench. The usual suspects – Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis – both chipped in with double-double. Brogdon (18 points) hauled in a team-high 14 rebounds in the victory.
“It felt great, being out there with the guys,” Brissett said after his performance. “Just with myself, I felt like I knew exactly what I could bring to the table – what needed to be done.”
“That was the energy side, attacking the basket and just being myself. It felt great being out there.”
Brissett did not play in the season opener against Charlotte and played just 7:52 against Washington. Tonight, he was on the court for 31:37.
After starting 0-for-3, the Pacers rallied to take their first lead of the game. Duarte tallied seven of the first nine Pacers points, including a tough contested fadeaway jumper that grabbed a one-point edge with 8:13 remaining.
However, Miami quickly responded with seven unanswered to take a 15-9 lead after the first timeout of the game. Duncan Robinson – the Heat’s main 3-point threat – knocked in his second triple of the frame to anchor the spree.
As the benches rotated in, Indiana rattled off a 19-9 run to finish out the frame, including a string of eight unanswered. During the run, Lamb connected on three consecutive triples to keep Miami at bay. The squad earned a 28-24 advantage after one.
Early in the second, the offense kept rolling. Indiana stretched its lead to 39-32 with 9:29 to play behind buckets from Sabonis, Duarte, Lamb, and Brissett. At the 10:00 mark, Duarte stifled Jimmy Butler at the top of the key, forcing a steal. Sabonis then found Lamb for his fourth trey of the half.
Midway through the frame, two threes from Brissett helped extend the Pacers’ lead to double digits, 47-35.
Later, the Pacers’ defense locked down. After Miami gained a bit of momentum, Justin Holiday stymied it with steal-and-finish at the 2:53 mark. After Tyler Herro knocked in a tough baseline jumper, Sabonis fought hard for a tough tip layup to hit the double-digit mark for the half. Indiana led 53-43 with 1:55 to play. Indiana earned a 56-46 advantage at halftime.
Early in the third, the Pacers’ defense made up for a string of three consecutive turnovers on offense. Several steals and stoppages maintained a 60-50 Indiana lead after four minutes ticked away. Indiana’s advantage bounced between eight and 10 points as both sides began picking up their defensive play as the frame reached the halfway mark.
A rare two-point bucket by Robinson cut the Pacers’ lead to 62-56 at the 5:30 mark, but both sides did not make any headway after that. Neither side connected on a bucket for the next 2:05 until Herro’s jumper cut Indiana’s lead to four. The Blue & Gold had trouble keeping possession on offense and committed their sixth turnover of the frame after Brissett’s errant pass landed in Butler’s hands with 3:01 to play.
Brissett’s runner with 1:18 left ended a run of nine consecutive misses for the Pacers. The bucket stretched Indiana’s lead to 64-61. But, a jumper from Herro cut the lead back down to one. The score remained the same entering the fourth. Indiana was outscored in the third, 17-8.
Miami finally took the lead on a dunk by Markeiff Morris to start the fourth as Indiana continued its shooting woes on offense. Myles Turner’s turnaround jumper with 10:31 remaining brought Indiana back to within one. But, buckets from Herro and Adebayo soon gave the Heat a 71-66 lead and forced a timeout from head coach Rick Carlisle.
Miami stretched its lead to six before five straight from Brogdon cut the deficit to 74-73 with 7:16 to go. However, they could not get over the hill. Buckets from Morris and Butler pushed Miami’s lead back to five.
But, Indiana kept hanging tough, and Duarte continued showing extreme confidence. Down 78-76, the rookie lined up a deep three and drilled it without hesitation to give Indiana a one-point edge with 4:17 to play.
Later, down 80-79, Brogdon drove the paint and finished a tough and-one play to give Indiana a two point lead. Down one again with 2:12 to play, Brissett nailed a three to push Indiana ahead 85-83. On the Pacers’ next possession, he was fouled shooting beyond the arc. However, he made just one free throw out of three. Due to the misses, Miami managed to tie the ballgame on a step-back triple from the oft-lethal Herro. The teams were tied at 86 apiece with 49.9 seconds to play.
After a timeout, the Pacers came up empty after Brogdon missed a layup. However, the defense stifled Butler’s go-ahead attempt, and Sabonis snagged the rebound. Indiana had 3.8 seconds to come up with a play.
A screen was set for Duarte. The rookie rose for the game-winning shot. However, it rattled out. For the second night in a row, the Blue & Gold headed to overtime tied at 86.
After teams traded buckets, the Pacers broke serve and scored nine straight. The run included an offensive putback from Brissett, three clutch free throws from Duarte, and a confident bucket from Sabonis. There would be no collapse this time, as the Pacers held on strong for the win. The Blue & Gold have a day off tomorrow before taking on the 2020-21 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers remain unbeaten in the battle on the boards through three games. Tonight, they matched Miami’s total with 55 rebounds, including 14 offensive boards
The Blue & Gold forced 22 turnovers while committing only 16
Chris Duarte has scored 15 points or more in all three of his appearances this season
You Can Quote Me On That
“Lamb was a guy that gave us a huge lift in the game. When you can play from in front for pretty much the entire first half against a team like Miami, that’s big. And his three or four threes that he hit in the first half were instrumental to that. That gave us a big lift” – Carlisle on Lamb’s impact off the bench tonight
“I like it. I like playing basketball. Being able to play back-to-back games, it’s kind of tough for a guy that has never been there before. But, I like it. I’m having fun.” – Duarte on his first time playing three games in four nights in the NBA
“We wouldn’t have won the game without Jeremy (Lamb) and Oshae (Brissett) stepping in. Jeremy gave us the boost in the first half. Oshae gave us the boost in the second half. They were both huge for us.” – Brogdon on Lamb and Brissett’s performances
Stat of the Night
Coming into tonight, the Pacers bench was averaging just 16 points per game. Tonight, they tallied 37.
- Isaiah Jackson tallied his first NBA point after sinking 1-of-2 free throws with 0.6 seconds left in the first half
- The Pacers have won three of the past four regular-season contests against the Heat
- With the win, Indiana improves its all-time, regular-season home record against Miami to 48-12
The Pacers continue their first homestand of the season on Monday, Oct. 25, when they welcome Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks to Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »