Heat skid hits three with 109-106 OT loss to Pacers as trade deadline looms

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Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel
·4 min read
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They might as well have started running a countdown clock to Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA trading deadline during the latter stages of Sunday’s game at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Because with a third consecutive loss, this time 109-106 in overtime to the Indiana Pacers, Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg and the Heat front-office staff might need to have an eventful week.

Struggling again on offense, particularly from the 3-point line, an unable to finish even when up by five in overtime, the Heat all too often stood as a two-man show Sunday, basically Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler or bust.

At 22-21 in a tight pack of teams in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Heat stand in danger of losing the remainder of momentum from their run of 11 victories in 12 games that preceded this slide.

Adebayo paced the Heat with 29 points and 10 rebounds, with Butler adding 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 17 points and 11 rebounds, fouling out in overtime.

The Heat closed 9 of 37 on 3-pointers,

Five Degrees of Heat from Sunday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat went into the fourth quarter down 79-70 and stood behind by eight with 4:26 left in the period.

Eventually, with 12.2 seconds to go in regulation, Butler got to the line, converting only the first of two fouls shots, for a 98-98 tie, with the fourth quarter ending on a missed jumper by the Pacers’ Caris LeVert.

Sabonis then fouled out 16 seconds into overtime.

From there, the Heat then moved to a five-point lead early in overtime, only to see Indiana move ahead 104-103 on a pair of Justin Holiday 3-pointers.

Eventually, a LeVert jumper put the Pacers up 109-106 with 48.2 seconds to go, with Butler off with a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

2. Challenge won: Heat coach Erik Spoelstra won a significant coach’s challenge with 9:34 to play in third period, after a fierce Adebayo dunk over Sabonis initially was nullified by a charging call.

Immediately turning to his staff, Spoelstra signaled for the challenge, which he won, with it turned into a 3-point play by Adebayo.

Twenty seconds later, Sabonis was called for an offensive foul against Butler, Sabonis’ fourth foul.

The Pacers challenged that call and lost, giving the Heat possession.

It all was part of an 8-0 run that produced a 58-57 Heat lead.

3. One-man show: At times in the first half it was as if Butler was going it alone. He stood with 14 points and six rebounds at the intermission.

Butler was up to 12 shots by halftime, only the third time this season he had attempted that many over the first two quarters.

Whether it was fatigue or otherwise, Butler then did not have a field-goal attempt in the third period, with his only two points in the quarter on a pair of free throws.

4. Deep despair: The Heat’s 3-point struggles were crystalized by a second-quarter sequence that dropped them to 3 of 14 from beyond the arc on the way to 3 of 18 for the first half.

With 7:06 left before halftime, Butler missed a 3-pointer that was rebounded by Kelly Olynyk.

Six seconds later, Trevor Ariza missed a 3-pointerd that was rebounded by Tyler Herro.

Five seconds after that, Ariza missed another 3-pointer, with the Pacers finally gaining possession.

All of that came with Robinson on the way to a 1-of-7 first half on 3-pointers.

The Heat then stood 5 of 26 on 3-pointers going into the fourth.

5. Shorthanded again: The Heat’s wheel of injuries landed Sunday on Dragic, with the veteran guard sidelined by back spasms.

It was the first game missed by Dragic since he missed nine from Feb. 7 to Feb. 22 with a sprained left ankle. Dragic also missed two games in early January while in health and safety protocols, and three more in late January with a strained right groin.

The Heat also remained without guard Avery Bradley for the 22nd consecutive game, due to a strained right calf.

Out for a second consecutive game due to COVID-19 contact tracing was Udonis Haslem, with the 40-year-old forward yet to play this season.

Forward Andre Iguodala, who missed the previous two games due to a sore left hip, returned Sunday.