The Indiana Pacers wanted redemption against the visiting Miami Heat on January 9. The Heat beat the Pacers on Goran Dragic’s last-second shot on December 28, 113-112.
Indiana didn’t get redemption. Instead, the Heat (27-10), the Eastern Conference’s third seed, took it to the depleted Pacers on January 9, 122-108.
Indiana took the court without guards Victor Oladipo (ruptured quad tendon) and Malcolm Brogdon (back). The Pacers have enjoyed success against other teams without them. Against the Heat, they looked like mere pretenders.
With the scored tied at 11, the Heat went on an 8-0 run and never looked back. Duncan Robinson made two triples during that stretch to give Miami a 19-11 lead. The Heat would rely on their superior outside shooting (they made 16 of 38 three-point attempts) to keep the Pacers at bay all game long.
Indiana managed to trim the deficit to four midway through the second quarter, 43-39. It was the closest it would get.
Miami Heats Up and Downs Pacers with Hot Second Half
The Heat would increase their lead to 62-49 at halftime. Miami even enjoyed a 31-point lead early in the fourth quarter, 103-72. The visiting squad won handily.
Miami relied on a balanced scoring attack for the easy win. The Heat had seven players in double figures. Rookie sensation Tyler Herro led the way with 19 points (on five-of-eight three-point shooting) off the bench. Center Bam Adebayo and forward Derrick Jones, Jr. each had 18 points for the Heat.
Domantas Sabonis scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Indiana. The Holiday brothers – Aaron and Justin – scored 14 points apiece for the Pacers. T.J. Warren, who averages almost 18 points per game, scored just three points for Indiana.
The highlight of the game was Warren’s altercation with Heat guard Jimmy Butler in the third quarter.
With the Heat up, 79-56, the officials called Warren for a foul as Butler drove to the basket. Butler quickly got into Warren’s face. The two exchanged heated words before cooler heads intervened. Both Warren and Butler received technical fouls.
When play immediately resumed, officials called an offensive foul on Butler as he lowered his shoulder into Warren. The latter clapped in Butler’s ear. Consequently, officials called a second technical foul on Warren, which warranted an automatic ejection.
Decimated Pacers Cruise in Windy City Behind Turner’s 27 Points
The Pacers entered the game against their division rivals, the Chicago Bulls, on January 11 already missing Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon. It turns out they would also miss the services of big man Domantas Sabonis, who nursed a sore left knee.
Indiana relied on center Myles Turner’s 27 points and 14 rebounds as well as key outside shooting in the end game to hold off the Bulls at the United Center, 116-105.
The Pacers’ bench was also a factor in this one. Indiana’s reserves outscored the Bulls’ 58-31. Aaron Holiday (19 points), Doug McDermott (16 points), Edmond Sumner (10 points), Justin Holiday (nine points), and Goga Bitadze (four points) gave Indiana a lift off the bench.
The Pacers had a 74-63 lead late in the third quarter. However, rookie guard Coby White made three consecutive triples to narrow the gap, 74-72.
Indiana built a commanding 16-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, 99-83. However, the Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen’s triple inched Chicago closer three minutes later, 103-99.
Justin Holiday made a three of his own in Indiana’s ensuing possession to put the game out of reach.
Small forward T.J. Warren bounced back from a three-point effort against the Miami Heat with 17 points.
The Pacers also survived a 43-point onslaught by the Bulls’ Zach LaVine. White finished with 23 points for Chicago, which lost its sixth straight game.
Pacers Rally in 4th Quarter to Beat Philadelphia 76ers
The last time the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers met on December 31 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, it wasn’t close. The Blue and Gold coasted to a 115-97 win.
This time around, it wasn’t a blowout. In fact, Indiana had to overcome an 11-point third quarter deficit to eke out a 101-95 win over the Joel Embiid-less Sixers on January 13.
Embiid sat out the game due to an injured finger. For their part, the Pacers welcomed back starters Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis. Brogdon had missed eight of the Pacers’ last nine games with a back injury and strep throat.
Sixers All-Star guard Ben Simmons scored 20 points in the first half to help the Sixers establish a 49-40 lead. Philadelphia enjoyed its biggest lead of the game, 63-52, after Matisse Thybulle split his charities with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
It became a nip-and-tuck affair afterward. With Philly up by three with 3:19 left in the game, Brogdon nailed a three-pointer to tie things up. Less than a minute later, he scored on a 19-foot jump shot to give Indiana the lead.
The Sixers’ Jason Richardson then made a 29-foot three-pointer just before the two-minute mark to knot the count once again. Richardson scored Philadelphia’s last 11 points.
The key play of the game occurred with less than 30 seconds left. With the Pacers up 97-95, T.J. Warren blocked Tobias Harris’ three-point attempt. Indiana converted on four free-throw attempts to put the game out of reach.
Brogdon and Warren each scored 21 points for the Pacers. The former also had seven rebounds and nine assists. Justin Holiday came off the bench to score 14 points for the Pacers. He made four of six three-point attempts.
Simmons led the Sixers with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Richardson finished with 23 points. Harris contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds for Philadelphia.
Pacers Odds Trend Up Against Struggling Minnesota Timberwolves
The Indiana Pacers seek to extend their winning streak to three when they take on Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center on January 15. It’s the first game of a home-and-home series.
The Pacers (25-15) enter the game relatively healthy. The only player on the injury list is All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who will return to the lineup late this month. Indiana will rely mainly on Malcolm Brogdon (17.7 ppg, 7.4 apg), T.J. Warren (17.9 ppg), and Domantas Sabonis (18.0 ppg, 13.1 rpg).
As for the Timberwolves (15-24), All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) might be questionable. He missed the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 13. Expect Andrew Wiggins (23.6 ppg) to carry the load should Towns sit this one out.
The Pacers are the heavy favorites to beat the Timberwolves because of their superior record. Oddsmakers should peg Pacers odds, Pacers moneyline, and Pacers over/under in favor of the visiting squad.