Heat loses Bam, but ends skid with historic fourth quarter. Takeaways from win over Pacers

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Five takeaways from the Miami Heat’s 142-132 comeback win over the Indiana Pacers (9-8) on Thursday night night at Kaseya Center to snap a three-game losing skid and improve to 1-1 during its three-game homestand. The Heat (11-8) closes the homestand with another matchup against the Pacers on Saturday:

The Heat has struggled in fourth quarters this season. But on Thursday, the Heat completed its comeback win behind a dominant and historic fourth quarter.

The Pacers entered with the NBA’s top offensive rating while playing at the fastest pace in the league. Like most teams, the Heat struggled to slow the Pacers’ offense down at the start.

After a 38-point first quarter, the Pacers scored another 35 points in the second quarter to enter halftime with 73 points on an ultra-efficient 61.4 percent shooting from the field and 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) shooting from three-point range.

“They’re not an easy team to defend, as you can see,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

But the Heat managed to stay within striking distance with the help of its own efficient first half. The Heat took advantage of a Pacers team that entered with the NBA’s third-worst defensive rating, scoring 64 points on 53.5 percent shooting from the field in the first two quarters.

The result was a nine-point Pacers lead entering halftime.

The Heat, which trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, continued to cut into that lead with the help of a 16-point third quarter from Jimmy Butler to enter the final period trailing by just three.

Then the Heat took full control of the game. On the way to taking its first lead of the night with 10:07 left in the fourth quarter, the Heat began the final period with a 28-9 run to pull ahead by 16 points with 4:11 to play.

The Pacers had one last push in them, cutting the deficit to six points multiple times in the final minute of the game. But that’s the closest Indiana got.

The Heat, which entered with the NBA’s second-worst fourth-quarter net rating this season, won Thursday behind a standout fourth quarter. Miami outscored Indiana 45-32 in the final period to turn a three-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter into a 10-point win.

The Heat didn’t miss many shots down the stretch, shooting 15 of 18 (83.3 percent) from the field, 2 of 2 on threes and 13 of 14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to earn the comeback win.

The Heat’s 45 points in the fourth quarter went down as the second-highest-scoring fourth quarter in franchise history behind only a 48-point fourth quarter in a March 2, 1989 loss to the New York Knicks.

The Heat’s 142 points in the win went down as the third-highest scoring game in franchise history behind only a 144-point night in an April 5, 2022 win over the Charlotte Hornets and 149-point night in a March 19, 2018 double-overtime win over the Denver Nuggets.

All of that was enough to overcome a career-high 44-point performance from Pacers star guard Tyrese Haliburton, in part because Indiana also struggled to make three-pointers in the second half. After shooting 7 of 16 (43.8 percent) on threes in the first half, Indiana shot just 4 of 27 (14.8 percent) on threes in the second half.

It also helps that Butler matched a season-high with 36 points in the win, including 24 in the second half, after missing the previous two games with a sprained right ankle. Butler also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out three assists in 38 minutes.

“I was just trying to play basketball and do what my squad needed to do,” Butler said. “Be aggressive, score a little bit, pass the ball a little bit.”

Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. continued his strong rookie season with a season-high 24 points off the bench on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 7-of-7 from the foul line. Jaquez totaled 14 points in the fourth quarter.

With the help of Jaquez, the Heat’s bench outscored the Pacers’ reserves 66-23.

The Heat also outscored the Pacers 38-21 at the foul line.

After closing the win with a stellar offensive rating of 133.3 points per 100 possessions, the Heat is now 6-0 this season when posting an offensive rating of 120 points scored per 100 possessions or better.

Thursday marked the 17th time in franchise history that the Heat has allowed 73 or more points in a first half, counting the regular season and playoffs. It also marked the the Heat’s first win in those situations, improving to 1-16 in those games.

“The Pacers are a super tough team,” said Heat guard Josh Richardson, who finished with 19 points off the bench. “They play at a crazy fast pace, they shoot a lot of shots. They speed you up. I think as the game went on, we just kind of started wearing on them a little bit and started trying to slow it down, execute, get the ball where it needs to get and just trying to see if we could get stops.”

But the Heat’s win didn’t come without some bad news, as starting center Bam Adebayo left Thursday’s win early after re-aggravated his hip injury.

Adebayo went to the bench with 6:56 left in the second quarter and shortly after went back to the Heat’s locker room with a team trainer. Adebayo never returned to the bench or game.

The Heat ruled out Adebayo for the rest of the night at halftime with a left hip contusion. Before exiting the game, Adebayo recorded seven points, four rebounds and two assists in 12 minutes.

“He came in those last four minutes of the second quarter and he was just getting some treatment at halftime with the intention to come back,” Spoelstra said when asked after the win about Adebayo’s injury. “I basically talked to him in my office and just said, ‘Look, you’re laboring like the fourth quarter of the New York game and it’s November right now. I’m not putting you back in in the second half. I’m taking this decision out of your hands.’ I didn’t even talk to the trainers at that point.”

What makes Adebayo’s injury especially concerning is the fact that he has already missed three games this season with a left hip contusion — an Oct. 30 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, a Nov. 22 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Saturday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Adebayo initially hurt his hip during the first week of the season and missed that Oct. 30 game. He then he re-aggravated the injury in a Nov. 20 win over the Chicago Bulls, forcing him to miss two of the next three games.

Adebayo returned to score a season-high 31 points in Tuesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, but he again got hit in the left hip during Thursday’s second quarter and left the Heat’s win early.

Losing Adebayo for any amount of time is a big blow to the Heat. Along with being at the center of everything the Heat does on defense, Adebayo entered Thursday averaging a team-high 23.3 points to go with 10.3 rebounds, four assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game this season.

The Heat next plays Saturday.

“It’s not, thankfully, something serious,” Spoelstra said. “It’s just you play competitive NBA basketball, you get hit, you’re jumping and you’re twisting, all that stuff. He heals fast, so we’ll continue to treat him and see where we are.”

Without Adebayo, the Heat began Thursday’s second half with Thomas Bryant in his place and also used Kevin Love and Orlando Robinson.

Bryant, who has fallen out of the Heat’s rotation after opening the season as the backup center, recorded two points and four rebounds in six minutes.

Before Thursday’s opportunity, Bryant had received six DNP-CDs (did not play, coach’s decision) in the previous 10 games.

But Bryant did not re-enter the game after his six-minute stint to begin the second half.

Instead, the Heat split the center minutes between Love and Robinson the rest of the way.

Love played most of the minutes, logging 13 minutes in the second half. He was effective, too, with three points, eight rebounds and five assists and a plus/minus of plus-13 in the final two quarters.

Robinson played four minutes in the second half, not scoring a point and grabbing one rebound during that time.

While Adebayo left the game early, Butler and Haywood Highsmith made their return for the Heat after missing time with injuries.

Butler missed the previous two games with a sprained right ankle and Highsmith missed one game with a lower back contusion before both returned to play against the Pacers.

Butler felt good enough to play a season-high 38 minutes, shoot a season-high 20 free throws and tie his season-high with 36 points.

Highsmith played 15 minutes, recording two points, one rebound and one assist in the win. He only logged four minutes in the second half.

With Butler and Highsmith back, the Heat returned to the starting lineup of Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Butler, Highsmith and Adebayo on Thursday. The Heat improved to 4-1 this season with this starting group.

The only Heat players unavailable against the Pacers were Tyler Herro (right ankle sprain), Dru Smith (season-ending right knee ACL injury) and R.J. Hampton (right knee sprain). Adebayo then joined that list after leaving Thursday’s win early.

The Heat and Pacers will face off again at Kaseya Center in a few days.

The Pacers will stay in Miami to take on the Heat at Kaseya Center on Saturday. It marks the second of six times this season that the Heat will play the same opponent in consecutive games — three coming at home, two happening on the road and one split between home and away.

The Heat already played one of these two game sets this season, splitting a pair of matchups against the Bulls in Chicago on Nov. 18 and 20.

The Heat and Pacers will meet only one more time this regular season after their two games in Miami this week — on April 7 in Indianapolis.

The Pacers are one of four Eastern Conference teams that the Heat will only face three times this season instead of the usual four regular-season matchups. The others are the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks.