LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida
It seemed like a one-sided game when the Heat went into halftime with a historic TD mark, but the final smile was achieved with a great deal of scare.
Jimmy Butler scored 27 points and led the Miami offense that defeated the Indiana Pacers 124-115 and took a 3-0 lead in the NBA first-round playoff. The next meeting will be on Monday.
After scoring 74 points in the first half, a franchise record in postseason history, the Heat went into the third quarter with an 18-card lead and the team collapsed.
The defense failed and the Pacers scored 34 points, their highest score in this series. Miami also lost five balls in the period and made one of the eight three-point shots it tried to season its disaster against its well-known rival.
“You know that the complete game is 48 minutes, sometimes more, and you have to compete until the end. Our guys had that mentality, ” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even knowing that Indiana did a great job in that second half we always expected it to be a tough game.”
With 2:19 minutes to go in the game, Pacers guard Malcom Brogdon scored a triple and brought his team closer to 114-112 on the scoreboard.
Two free throws by Bam Adebayo again stretched the lead to four cards.
Butler blocked a shot by TJ Warren and then he himself made four free throws that fattened the score 120-112 in favor of Miami, which from that moment controlled the end of the game.
“We never go out to play thinking we’re going to lose,” Butler said. “We want to win. We know what we are capable of. ”
Adebayo finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and one steal, and Butler added eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.
Goran Dragic with 24 cards, Tyler Herro with 20 and Duncan Robinson with 15 also stood out for Miami.
Malcolm Brogdon stood out for Indiana with 34 points, Warren with 23 and Victor Oladipo with 20.
Despite being against the wall, Pacers coach Nate McMillan is not giving up.
“We know what Game Four is about,” McMillan said.
“We are down 3-0. We have to win or we go home. Like I told the guys: ‘We’re not dead.’ We show in the second half what we are capable of doing, but you have to have that intensity and keep believing for 48 minutes “