(Photo Credit: Ron Hoskins)
The Miami HEAT fell to the Indiana Pacers 90-84 Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The HEAT held a first half lead but were unable to maintain their production in the second half.
Impact Performance of the Night: Roy Hibbert was a force for the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night. He finished with 24 points and five rebounds. Hibbert was excellent for Indiana down the stretch. He hit a number of shots around the rim and drew fouls to get to the line. When Hibbert is scoring efficiently, as he did Tuesday when he shot 10-for-15, the Pacers reach a new level of effectiveness.
The Deciding Run: A pair of LeBron James free throws brought the HEAT to within two points at 74-72 with 7:20 remaining in the game. The Pacers proceeded to go on a 12-5 run to take a nine-point lead. Miami couldn’t hit their shots and the Pacers couldn’t miss theirs.
Play of the Game: During the Pacers’ run, the HEAT forced a miss from Paul George but couldn’t secure the rebound. Luis Scola grabbed the board and kicked it out to George in the corner. He knocked down his second three-point attempt of the possession, giving the Pacers a nine-point lead. Had the HEAT been able to grab the board, things may have been different.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 91.5; Defensive Efficiency: 100.0
Trend to Watch: The HEAT have had a tough go of it from three-point range lately. It looked like the HEAT may have broken out of their slump on Sunday against the Pistons, but the shooting woes returned tonight. Against a defense as good as Indiana’s, when presented with open looks, you have to knock them down. Miami only went 4-of-21 from deep with many of their misses coming on wide open looks. If there’s something to be encouraged by it has to be Miami’s ability to create clean looks against the Pacers. There still isn’t much reason for concern when it comes to the HEAT’s shooting. It’ll come and go, but the HEAT have such good shooters that there will be more good nights than bad. With another game against Indiana next week, it’ll be interesting to see if the HEAT can turn things around in time for another stiff test.
The Takeaway: This game will be held up as a statement game, but in reality it’s just one in 82 game marathon. The Indiana Pacers are a very, very good basketball team. They have given the HEAT trouble in the past and likely will again. Such is the nature of the matchup. Miami did a lot of good things against the Pacers in the losing effort. For large stretches of the game the HEAT were able to dice the Pacers defense up. That’s not easy to do. Miami also forced a bunch of turnovers which helps offset any rebounding imbalance. Miami would gladly take the same shots they saw tonight again. What we can take away from tonight is that a Pacers-HEAT playoff series would be fun as both teams are among the NBA’s elite.
Notes: Dwyane Wade and LeBron James each scored 17 points. Chris Bosh added 12 points. Michael Beasley and Greg Oden were inactive.