With their mutual playoff fates already decided, the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers largely rested their key players in their final regular season game before their first round series begins Tuesday. Though Miami’s draft positioning improved with the 109-92 loss, they lost Derrick Jones Jr. in the third quarter to what could be a serious injury after a collision.
The Heat rested Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Jae Crowder, and Andre Iguodala. Coach Erik Spoelstra gave just 13 first half minutes to starter Duncan Robinson — who lost out on a chance to keep his streak alive of 3-pointers made in a game — as well as shortened minutes for Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Herro (16 points, 6-16 FGs). Kendrick Nunn played the most minutes of the starters but had another up-and-down game finishing with a team-leading 23 points but went 8-27 from the field.
Solomon Hill (21 points, seven rebounds in 41 minutes) played well off the bench in an otherwise forgettable first quarter for the Heat, who fell behind early and never caught up to the Pacers despite playing them for the most part evenly for the rest of the game.
The game’s brightest spot for Heat fans was seeing Udonis Haslem start again, his 500th career start in fact, just like the good old days in what could be his final in-game appearance. The 40-year-old vet was active early in the paint, setting effective screens and making a nifty move to the basket for a well-earned layup in the first quarter.
He even knocked down the fifth 3-pointer of his legendary career just before halftime.
Notably, the injury to Derrick Jones Jr. in the third quarter was the biggest cause for concern in an otherwise meaningless game. After a collision trying to get around a screen, he was seen clutching at the back of his neck in pain before being taken off the court in a stretcher. Hopefully the extent of his injury won’t prevent him from being ready for the postseason and we wish him a speedy recovery. Spoelstra after the game referred to the injury as a “stinger” but did not have further information at the time, though he said DJJ was moving his arms and legs and was getting checked out.
He had earlier provided the most impressive Heat highlight of the game with this thunderous dunk.
Miami climbed up the draft by several spots with the losses in their final two games and as a result will now have the No. 20 pick in the first round of the NBA Draft. They went 3-5 in the Disney bubble, though they played shorthanded for many of them during a tough schedule.
The two teams meet for Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Playoffs on Tuesday at 4:00pm. Because the Pacers won today, they will officially have the #4 seed and have home-court advantage against the #5 Heat.