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Heat hold off Pacers, win 124-115

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Miami withstood a Pacers run that trimmed a 20-point lead to 2.

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Three Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images

Like the first two games in this series, the Miami Heat held a small lead in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers. This time, it was too close for comfort — the Pacers got within two points a couple times in the fourth quarter. But the Heat again made enough plays to come away with a huge 124-115 win to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

With 3:33 left to go and Miami up 112-109, Jimmy Butler found Bam Adebayo for a floater as the shot clock expired. Less than a minute later, Malcolm Brogdon answered with a 3-pointer to pull Indiana within 114-112. And then on Miami’s next trip down the court, Adebayo grabbed two huge offensive rebounds to keep the possession alive. T.J. Warren fouled Adebayo as he went up for a layup.

The Heat’s first-time All Star sunk both free throws, and then Butler blocked a Warren reverse layup attempt on the other end. It was a tremendous stand from Miami’s two best players to absorb a serious Pacers run and come out on top.

Miami ran out to an early lead thanks to some accurate 3-point shooting. The Heat nailed 11 3s and built an 18-point lead at the halftime buzzer. But Miami’s hot shooting went ice cold in the second half, and Indiana clawed back. The Pacers went on a 12-2 run to start the third quarter, and the Heat only knocked down one 3-pointer in the second half.

How did the Heat maintain their lead? Butler was relentless in attacking the basket. He finished with 27 points and went 17-for-20 from the foul line. Though he struggled from the field and committed five turnovers, the five-time All Star gave Miami so many relief points with his aggression. He also added eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

After Myles Turner blocked a couple of Adebayo’s layup attempts through the first three quarters, the former Kentucky Wildcat attacked the basket. Adebayo finished with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 8-of-9 from the foul line. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists. He found Duncan Robinson for a couple dive cuts to the basket after Robinson made two 3s. After just scoring seven points in Game 2, Adebayo’s late aggression — just look to those two late offensive boards — were vital to the Heat’s win.

Goran Dragic added 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Tyler Herro chipped in 20 off the bench on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range. He continued to look completely unafraid of the moment in his first playoff series — just look at him calmly sink this jumper late in the shot clock.

On the other end of the floor, the Pacers successfully hunted Herro for defensive mismatches. It got so bad that Erik Spoelstra went away from his crunch time five and substituted Jae Crowder for Herro in the fourth quarter.

The Heat will try to finish the series Monday at 6:30 p.m.