The Miami Heat had just a 51-46 lead at halftime in Game 2 of their first round series against the Indiana Pacers. Indiana slowed down the game to their advantage, and only Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson had anything going offensively.
And then the Heat rattled off 37 points in the third quarter, built a lead that crested at 16 points and held on to win 109-100 and take a commanding 2-0 series lead against the fourth-seeded Pacers.
Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic catalyzed Miami’s high-octane offense in the third quarter. Robinson finished the game with 24 points on an incredible 7-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. He even dribbled into this 3-point shot, something we don’t see often from the sharpshooter.
After going just 2-for-8 in Game 1, Robinson made three 3s in the first minute-and-a-half of Game 2. It helps Miami so much when the former University of Michigan player gets going to start the game. But even with Robinson playing so well, Erik Spoelstra went with his crunch-time five from Game 1 — Butler, Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Andre Iguodala.
Dragic finished with 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. The 34-year-old veteran also dished out six assists and again made big plays in the fourth quarter. On this play, Herro makes a nice drive to the basket before finding Dragic for an open 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter.
The Heat set their franchise record with 17 threes on this Dragic shot, a record that probably won't last too long, but let's also appreciate Herro's pass. pic.twitter.com/0jJNyGt3mT— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) August 20, 2020
For his part, Herro struggled offensively, going just 4-for-14 from the field. But he made three of his eight attempts from downtown, including a huge one with 2:34 left to give Miami a 108-94 lead.
Butler added 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. Like Game 1, Butler made two 3-pointers Thursday afternoon. (The first one came with the shot clock expiring.) Though he missed some shots he usually makes — he blew a breakaway layup after a nice strip from Iguodala and missed two of his eight free throw attempts — Butler again brought intensity on the defensive end of the floor. It was infectious.
Heat Culture, featuring Duncan Robinson, Bam Adebayo, and Jimmy Butler pic.twitter.com/aTEoa0VxBF— Karens In Paris (@NekiasNBA) August 20, 2020
Miami’s other All-Star, Adebayo, was scoreless at halftime. The Most Improved Player finalist picked up two quick fouls in the first quarter and never got into a rhythm offensively. He finished with seven points, five rebounds and four assists, but Adebayo was a +19 in Game 2 — a team-high. He again showed his versatility, switching onto guards in pick-and-rolls.
When Adebayo left the game with his two early fouls, Spoelstra opted to go small. He substituted Derrick Jones Jr. for Adebayo instead of Kelly Olynyk. Jones was a -11 in his 12 minutes, and Miami’s offense ground to a halt when he came in. (He was also a -11 in Game 1.) If Jones continues to struggle offensively, we may see Kendrick Nunn get another chance to prove himself.
The Heat will face Indiana for Game 3 of their first-round series Saturday at 3:30 p.m.