Up by six points with less than four minutes left in the game, the shorthanded Heat had a golden opportunity to secure their third consecutive victory against an opponent with a superior record. Instead, they were blitzed by the Pacers to end the game on a sudden 16-2 run led by Victor Oladipo, who finished with 22 points and 10 assists.
Wasted in the bitter loss was a second straight 20-rebound performance from Hassan Whiteside, who also added 11 points and four blocks. Kelly Olynyk scored a team-leading 20 points but had to leave the game in the second half after being hit in the ribcage early in the fourth quarter. Miami was already missing Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Jones Jr.
Despite committing a season-high 24 turnovers, the Heat had multiple chances to ice the game but eight fourth quarter turnovers ultimately doomed them — particularly a pair of poor decisions by Josh Richardson when they were desperately trying to stave off the Pacers during their closing run.
Hopefully this isn’t a pattern with Richardson and is more of a result of growing pains as part of his increased role on offense but Miami’s record would have looked a lot better if it wasn’t for some costly, many of them highly avoidable, late game turnovers and missed shots or broken plays to end the game. Without Dragic and Wade to create and find their teammates for quality shots tonight, Miami’s offense went cold and with it another loss to an East team and a losing record of 5-6 to show for it.
Thankfully, the team is back in action tomorrow night at the AmericanAirlines Arena to host the disappointing Washington Wizards as they seek to put this tough loss behind them.