INDIANAPOLIS – Wednesday night was just not the Indiana Pacers‘ (21-20) night.
Despite trailing the Miami Heat (24-17) by as many as 16 points in the first half, Indy rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter. They were never able to break the tie and take the lead though. Miami held on for the 114-106 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, snapping the Blue and Gold’s two-game win streak.
The Pacers have struggled with slow starts this season, but built early advantages in the first two games of this homestand on their way to victories. On Wednesday, Indiana were back to digging themselves into a quick hole.
Indy enjoyed a 5-0 lead only 67 seconds into the ballgame, but the fun would stop there. The first quarter, and the entire first half for that matter, belonged to the Heat. Miami used a 10-2 run to break a 11-11 tie and ultimately rolled into quarter two with a 38-26 edge.
In the second quarter, some ill-timed foul calls hurt the Pacers. Indy’s bench provided a bit of a spark, pulling the home team back as close as six points, but the Heat maintained a 58-47 lead at the break. It felt at times in the period like whenever Indiana was on the verge of making a run at Miami, a whistle would stop their progress.
After a sluggish first half, the Pacers got to work coming out of the locker room. At the 7:17 mark of the third quarter, the Blue and Gold started on a 11-0 run that got them back into the game. By the time it was all said and done, Miami’s lead was down to 63-62. The visitors would stop the bleeding and after three, the Heat led 84-78.
Miami came out firing to start the fourth, too, quickly jumping out to a 90-80 lead that put the Pacers in a bind. Indy bounced back in a hurry, though, making it a three-point game again with 7:19 to play. By the 5:09 mark, a Lance Stephenson jumper tied the score at 97. It was the first time Indiana was even with Miami since the first quarter.
The game wouldn’t be tied again.
Tyler Johnson nailed a three with 4:08 left, giving the Heat a 100-97 edge. Each side would trade buckets down the stretch until with just 25 seconds remaining, Wayne Ellington put in the game’s deciding shot.
With the Heat up 106-103 and the seconds ticking down, Ellington pulled up for a three-pointer that bounced around the rim and in for a triple that the Pacers wouldn’t be able to recover from. Miami made their free throws in the closing moments, wrapping up the Heat’s sixth consecutive win.
While Miami connected on many timely threes on Wednesday, it was a dismal performance from downtown for the Pacers. The Blue and Gold went just 1-for-18 from beyond the arc.
Victor Oladipo led Indy, scoring 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Stephenson had a solid night off the bench, finishing with 15 points and eight boards.
Indiana center Myles Turner missed Wednesday’s game with a banged up right elbow. He will also be out of action on Friday.
The Heat had very balanced scoring. Miami played only eight men, but seven of eight scored in double figures. Goran Dragic was the Heat’s top scorer, dropping 20 and nine assists.
The final game of Indiana’s four-game homestand comes on Friday night versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip-off from the Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.