Pacers draw boos from home crowd during lifeless loss to injury-depleted Heat

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  • Jimmy Butler
    Jimmy Butler
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  • Bam Adebayo
    Bam Adebayo
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  • Kyle Lowry
    Kyle Lowry
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  • Domantas Sabonis
    Domantas Sabonis
    Lithuanian basketball player
Dec 3, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert (22) passes the ball while Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon (21) defends  in the first half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 3, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Caris LeVert (22) passes the ball while Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon (21) defends in the first half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS – The Pacers were without T.J. McConnell for the first time all season Friday against the Heat due to a right wrist injury that will sideline him for “weeks not days,” per coach Rick Carlisle.

Miami didn't have any sympathy. Heat stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were out with tail bone and thumb injuries, respectively, but the team’s supporting cast, led by Kyle Lowry, still did enough to earn a 113-104 victory at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Here’s what stood out:

More: Pacers T.J. McConnell (wrist) 'out weeks,' T.J. Warren (foot) 'will not play in December'

More: Insider: The Pacers are out of excuses, and if they play like this they deserve to lose

Domantas Sabonis’ late arrival

Indiana's two-time all-star Domantas Sabonis was announced as a starter about 30 minutes before tipoff Friday, but when game time came around, he wasn’t on the court or the bench. Torrey Craig started in his place as Sabonis tended to "a family matter that required attention."

He came out of the tunnel a few minutes after the game started and immediately checked in for Craig during a timeout at the 8:19 mark of the first quarter. Sabonis threw down a fast-break dunk for his first basket of the night, but it was a rare highlight during the Pacers' fourth straight loss. Sabonis finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds in 37 minutes.

"Second game in a row where we just allowed the opposing team to come in and get a really good rhythm," Carlisle said.

Pacers show no energy, fans boo

Caris LeVert scored a season-high 27 points, but even with his strong offensive outing, the Pacers looked lifeless.

Malcolm Brogdon had one of his worst games of the season, being held to 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting in 39 minutes.

Sabonis was productive, but his frustration with his team’s lackluster effort boiled over after Gabe Vincent drove to the basket for a wide-open layup that put Miami ahead 110-97 with 1:52 left in the game. Carlisle called timeout, and Sabonis got in a heated discussion with LeVert as both players headed to the bench.

"That happens. (With) basketball there's gonna be miscommunications out there. He sees something different than I see, so it's gonna be that," LeVert said. "But it's all love. That's my brother. We hugged it out right after that. ... We're both super competitive guys in a sport that's super competitive, so stuff like that happens."

Throughout the second half, there were a smattering of boos from Pacers fans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Miami led by as many as 20 points.

"Nobody takes losing harder than the players," LeVert said. "So boo or not, we're gonna feel it. We feel it ourselves. The fans want to win. That's how it is. We don't feel any type of way about that. We want to win as well."

Kyle Lowry shines

Lowry’s resume speaks for itself. The six-time all-star helped Toronto win its first championship in 2018-19 before joining the Heat this past summer, and his presence could push Miami into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.

On Wednesday night, though, having Lowry meant the depleted Heat still had one more star to rely on as it snapped a two-game losing streak. Lowry scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half and buried six 3-pointers in the game.

Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro had big nights, too. Robinson scored 24 points with four 3s, while Herro added 18 points and three 3-pointers.

Miami shot 16-of-34 from behind the arc as a team.

"I think if we were playing 1% harder, maybe they don't make those shots, maybe they don't have that confidence going into the game," LeVert said. " ... Every one of them got into a good rhythm. Like I said, Lowry, Herro, Duncan, they all got in a good rhythm early in the game so that kind of dictated how they played the rest of the game."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pacers vs. Heat: Indiana draws boos from home crowd in lifeless loss

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