Whoever sees only the scoreboard does not imagine how close Game 4 of the Heat’s first-round series was against the Pacers, this Monday in Orlando.
It was an old-school game and it wasn’t easy for the Miami team to beat the good Indiana team 99-87, especially with their star Jimmy Butler at fifty percent.
But this Heat has shown that they have a powerful weapon: their good defense, which when used leaves their rival without options. From now on you will have to use it more than ever because what is coming is increasingly difficult.
And it is that with this victory the Miami team advanced to the semifinals of the Eastern Conference where it awaits the winner of the series between the Bucks and the Magic, which favors the Milwaukee 3-1, so it is very likely that be your next rival.
It was not a night of offensive party for the Capital of the Sun quintet that shot 44 percent and 26.7 percent from 3-pointers (8-30) and only went to the free throw line 14 times, making 11.
Goran Dragic, with all his heart, made just one of his six shots out of three, but still finished with 23 points and five rebounds and was the best of the Heat.
Tyler Herro followed fearlessly with 16 cards and five rebounds coming from the bench.
Bam Adebayo did not have it easy under the boards, but again he was key with his defense, his 14 points, 16 rebounds and six assists.
Kelly Olynyk didn’t score in the second half, but aside from her 11 points and eight rebounds, her +15 differential speaks to how well she played the 16 minutes she was on the court.
Jae Crowder returned to meet with 10 points and five rebounds, also contributing his good record. While Duncan Robinson (5 points) didn’t have his night making just one of his seven shots out of three.
Butler (6) suffered in the first quarter a strain in his left shoulder that forced him to abandon the first half of the game. His presence in the second half with a therapeutic tape was also key.
For Indiana, Victor Oladipo stood out with 25 points, Myles Turner with 23, TJ Warren with 21 and Malcolm Brogdon with 13.
The first half ended in Miami’s favor 48-42 thanks to the final reaction, with Olynyk’s 11 points; to his great defense, which stopped the Pacers in their tracks, and to his bench, which won the game 25-3.
Indiana took 22-21 a very disputed first quarter in which the defenses prevailed and in which the players of both teams shared the points. The Heat suffered the momentary dismissal of Butler, who had to leave the game in the sixth minute with an injury to his left shoulder.
Miami played a great second quarter in which they won 27-20 with a good 8-0 rally that began with the surprise entry of Kendrick Nunn by Butler, almost halfway through the quarter, who combined very well with Olynyk to escape on the scoreboard, although at halftime the advantage was reduced to six points.
Butler returned in the third and the Heat stretched the lead to 12, but the Pacers tightened and with an 8-0 rally they got closer to five on the scoreboard. At the end with a basket by Dragic on the horn Miami won the quarter 22-20 and extended its lead 70-62.
With eight points ahead, the Heat reached the decisive last quarter and after seeing it reduced to five they stretched it again to 11. The Pacers did not give up and approached again, but Miami in the end stopped Indiana in defense and accelerated the pace in attack to win the quarter 29-25 and sentence the match.