The Indiana Pacers have struggled this season in overtime, posting a record of just 1-5 coming into Monday's game in Miami. One of those OT losses came from the Miami Heat in South Beach back in January. Monday night the Pacers again found themselves in OT at Miami, and couldn't find the winning combination as they dropped their second road, overtime meeting with the Heat this season.
Coming Out Smoking
The Miami Heat got off to a slow start, or maybe it was the Pacers who got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 11-0 spurt to start the game as they dominated the first quarter.
The Pacers defense was a key to them starting the game strongly, as they would force the Heat into six first quarter turnovers, and only allow five Miami field goals.
Miami Makes Their Comeback
The Heat would use the second quarter to get the game within reach before they would make their second half assault and stay in the game for good. Miami pulled to within three points at 44-41 at the half thanks in part to an 11-0 run of their own, but also thanks to the play of Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside brought energy and took over on the boards, especially on the offensive end for the Heat. Whiteside would total 19 points and 18 rebounds enroute to the win for the Heat, including six offensive rebounds.
"We've got to pick our intensity up," said Pacers rookie Joe Young, speaking with Fox Sports Indiana's Jeremiah Johnson at the half.
The Pacers saw their lead shrink dramatically in the second quarter, as they were out-hustled on both ends of the floor.
"We've got to match their energy, it's a playoff game," said Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke, speaking with Johnson after the half.
This game would determine, at least for the time-being, who would hold the fourth and fifth seeds in the Eastern Conference.
Pacers Get Sloppy, Heat Take Advantage
During the third quarter, the Pacers committed careless fouls and still were having trouble handling a Heat team, who's star Dwyane Wade had not yet scored any points, early in the third quarter.
Wade would go onto score four points in the third quarter, and the Heat would seize their first lead of the night at 54-53 on a Luol Deng tip-in. Deng would prove to be the more active player and he would be rewarded, a scene that played out many times throughout the game for the Heat.
Game Still Within Reach
Despite how poorly the Pacers had played to start the third quarter and the reserve energy the Heat had seemed to find as they continually outhustled Indiana, the game remained neck-and-neck throughout the fourth quarter.
Wade would hit two foul shots with with just seconds left after he appeared to travel on a drive to the basket, but instead, Monta Ellis was called for a foul on Wade. The Heat would hold the lead for a short time at 88-87, courtesy of Wade's two made foul shots, before Indiana had it's chance at revenge.
Ellis Fouls Up
Wade was called for a foul with .8 seconds remaining as he hit Ellis on his shot attempt with the Heat leading 88-87. Ellis would go to the line with a chance to win the game for Indiana, but would only hit one of his two foul shots. The Pacers would have to settle for overtime on the second night of a back-to-back.
Ellis was not blamed by his head coach after the game, however, for blowing the chance to win from the line late.
"One play doesn't win or lose a game, I'll take that situation 100 times out of 100," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel of Ellis being at the line with the game on the line, speaking with the media.
Pacers Wilt In OT
As overtime progressed, it was pretty obvious that the Pacers didn't have their legs anymore and this game would not end in their favor. Goran Dragic, who had blown by the Pacers guards all night, continued to do so in the overtime session, as he accounted for several critical baskets to help the Heat pull away. Dragic led the Heat in scoring with 24 points.
The more the Pacers scrambled and panicked, the worse things got. The Heat stayed steady in the overtime session and were able to comfortably get their second win at home over the Pacers this season.
The final score stood Indiana 93, Miami 101.
"They just made plays...they just made more plays," said Vogel, speaking with the media after the loss.
Also of Note
Lost in the bad night for the Pacers was the stellar scoring performace by Paul George, who led the Pacers, and all other scorers with 31 points. Ellis (7) and George Hill (1) combined to shoot 2-21 from the field, and score just eight points for the Pacers. The Heat outrebounded the Pacers 66-45. Miami also grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, Whiteside accounting for six offensive rebounds. The Pacers end tied 2-2 with the Heat in the season series.
The Pacers completed their three-game road trip with a 2-1 record, with two impressive wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic. Now Indiana heads back home to face the New York Knicks on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST.