The Miami Heat break a three-game losing streak as they win in dramatic fashion to the Indiana Pacers Thursday night, 142-132. It was a tale of two halves for the home team as they couldn't match the explosive offense of the Pacers in the first 24 minutes, but found their footing in the most important parts of the game in the second half.
FINAL: Heat 142 – Pacers 132
First half disappointment leads to a second half resurgence for Miami. Most points this season.
No Adebayo, no problem.
Butler had 36, Jaquez had 24, Robinson 16, Lowry 15, Martin 14, Richardson 19. #HEATCulture
— Zachary Weinberger (@ZachWeinberger) December 1, 2023
It was Jimmy Butler's first game after missing the last two with an ankle injury and it seemed like it wasn't bothering him. He finished the game with 36 points and 10 rebounds. Jaime Jaquez Jr. would impress again with 24 points (career-high) and five rebounds. Other players to score in double-digits were Josh Richardson, Caleb Martin, Kyle Lowry, and Duncan Robinson.
It almost seemed like it was over after star point guard Tyrese Haliburton had an excellent night in every aspect as he scored 44 points, 10 assists, and three steals. The Pacers Obi Toppin also carried some of the weight of Indiana with 25 points.
Here are three takeaways from the Heat's win over the Pacers:
First half disappointment for Heat
The first half of this game was dominated by the Indiana Pacers and specifically Haliburton. The 23-year old would have 28 first half points to go with four assists and two steals.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke before the game and talked about how Indiana has the ability to score 150 points on a given night. Well, they scored 70 in the first 24 minutes of play, so not totally far off.
Coming into the game, the Pacers were the No. 1 team in offensive rating and they showed exactly why Thursday night in this half. Haliburton was the catalyst to set their fast pace and Miami had a hard time matching them. They made it a shootout and the Heat weren't up to the task to start.
The Heat would try to claw back and get out of a double-digit deficit, but Indiana wouldn't flinch. Taking a nine-point lead into the second half, Indiana felt good as they shot 61.4 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three-point range. On the other hand, Miami shot 53.5 percent from the field and 36.4 from deep.
Worse yet for the Heat, Bam Adebayo was announced by the team to have tweaked his hip and unable to return for the second half. That's obviously a huge loss as he is vital on both sides of the ball.
Correction: Bam Adebayo will not be returning to tonight's game. https://t.co/VPCD6WbroN
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 1, 2023
Miami's second half resurgence
It was a big third quarter for Miami as they held Indiana to their lowest scoring quarter up until that point with 27 and had 33 of their own points. The Heat were led in the period by Jimmy Butler who had 16 third quarter points, eight of them coming from the free throw line.
When Butler went to the charity stripe, it really slowed the pace down which threw the Pacers off as they run a fast play-style. Coming off an ankle injury where he missed the past two games, he was aggressive and seemed to have no limitations. Point guard Kyle Lowry also contributed with eight points, six of those coming from two three-pointers made to start the second half.
Miami was only down three going into the fourth quarter, in which they kept all their momentum and then some. There was a clear plan for Butler to sit the start of the final period. The team's hope during that time is for Indiana to keep extending their lead.
What came as a result was players like Jaime Jaquez Jr., Josh Richardson, and others making smart plays leading to easy baskets. On the other end of the floor, the Pacers couldn't buy a shot. The Heat took their first lead in the fourth quarter and held on to it for the whole way through.
Miami's crowd came unloose as Heat players would capitalize off the misses from Indiana, as there were major highlights during fast-breaks like a Duncan Robinson deep shot or a lob to Jaquez. Spoelstra before the game said that the team has to set their own pace and they did just that in the moments that mattered.
The rematch between Heat and Pacers comes Saturday
Indiana can have their revenge against the Heat next Saturday as the two teams go at it again at the Kaseya Center. If the game will be anything like Thursday's, fans of both teams should expect a barnburner.
While a win is a win, Miami still seek a complete win from the first buzzer to the last. The same goals are set for Miami, they can't let Haliburton and Pacers set the pace like they did throughout the first half. The Heat have to replicate the second half where they forced Indiana to make tough shots and play by their own rules.
If Miami can also get the aggressive, no-nonsense Butler and five other players in double-digits, they should be in good shape. Out-scoring Indiana is already a challenge itself as the Heat scored 142 points, a season-best.
A status update for Adebayo isn't available at the moment, but he was said to have got banged in the hip, where he had his previous injury and didn't return for the game. His situation will be monitored in the lead-up to Saturday's game against the Pacers.