The Miami Heat's playoff hopes are slipping away, as they are now in 10th place in the Eastern Conference after falling to 34-43. The Pacers beat the Heat and pull even with them in the standings but own the tie breaker with a 3-1 advantage head to head. Miami isn't out of the race at all, but a 4 game losing streak has taken them from 7th at the beginning of the week to 10th at the end.
Miami was without Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen, both nursing injuries faced in Detroit. This was the fourth straight loss for the Heat. The Pacers won the game 112-89.
Indiana was hyped for the return of Paul George. Some thought he might not have much of an impact with limited minutes, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
Paul George returned midway through the first quarter. It was mainly the reason why the Pacers had their 12th sellout of the season on this Easter Sunday. George came in a bit timid, taking his time coming in the game flow. He did, however, hit his first shot that he took. Despite a blunder fast break layup missed, George did hit a corner three to total five first half points in 7 minutes.
After that, the Heat fought a good comeback to even take a first half lead. Dwyane Wade was good and so was Goran Dragic. The Pacers made 8 three-pointers in the first half to Miami's zero. The Pacers also had 12 offensive rebounds, and they had a 4 point halftime lead.
It was a zone that the Heat dabbled with throughout the game that gave the Pacers some fits. They couldn't get into much of a flow, but C.J. Miles and Solomon Hill's three-point shooting from the zone kept them alive. Indiana wasn't dominate inside with Roy Hibbert and David West, but from outside.
In the second half, Miami grabbed a 58-57 lead, but then an ensuing three, flagrant foul on Dragic, free throws, another three, and all of a sudden the Heat were trailing by double digits, and that's where they entered the fourth quarter, trailing 77-66. The Pacers kept shooting threes and Miami continued to struggle from the outside.
Michael Beasley hyperextended his left knee. So you can add that to the injury list.
The fourth quarter was not pretty, for Miami. Paul George got it going a bit, Luis Scola pounded the Heat and Miami just had no flow to their offense. Scola had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana. Miami let a second half close game turn into a blowout. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 27 points, and was pretty good offensively after a slow start, but didn't have much help elsewhere.
The Pacers 14 shots from three-point land. Miami made 2. The Pacers had a +18 advantage on the glass. Miami had only 15 assists on the game. The Heat got a combined 5 points from Henry Walker and Luol Deng. It was a sad performance down the stretch.
One positive was James Ennis scoring 17 points off the bench. Ennis was a welcomed spark in the Heat's first half run and had the energy needed. It just wasn't matched across the lineup on the end of a back-to-back.
The Heat next play Tuesday at home against the Charlotte Hornets at 7:30 PM EST.