Wed, 23 Sep 2020

Pacers top Heat to claim fourth seed in East

Field Level Media
15 Aug 2020, 09:19 GMT+10

The Indiana Pacers earned the right to be the "home" team to begin their first-round playoff series with the Miami Heat by beating their Eastern Conference rival 109-92 on Friday afternoon in their regular-season finale near Orlando.

Aaron Holiday bombed in a pair of 3-pointers in a game-opening 21-7 flurry that gave Indiana (45-28) a lead for good in a matchup of teams that entered the game tied for fourth place in the East.

The Pacers and Heat (44-29) will next play in a best-of-seven playoff series, beginning Tuesday. Despite the loss, the Heat won the season series 3-1.

Indiana will enter the postseason as the fourth seed in the East, while Miami will be No. 5.

With nothing at stake other than the color of jerseys for the playoff opener, the Pacers played without T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. The Heat rested Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala.

The loosely played game featured one scary and one memorable moment.

The scary moment occurred when Heat swingman Derrick Jones Jr. took a hard fall in the third quarter and had to be tended to on the court for several minutes. Fearing a neck injury, he was taken off the floor on a stretcher. The seriousness of his injury wasn't immediately known.

Jones played in all eight Heat games since the restart, totaling 46 points.

A lighter scene resulted when Heat veteran Udonis Haslem connected on his first 3-point basket since 2018. The 17-year veteran is now 5-for-58 from beyond the arc in his career.

Doug McDermott led the way for the Pacers with 23 points. Malcolm Brogdon, one of the few regulars who saw action in the game, added 16, while both Aaron and Justin Holiday chipped in with 11, as did Alize Johnson. JaKarr Sampson made it six players in double figures for Indiana with 10 points.

Johnson was the game's leading rebounder with a career-best 17, while T.J. McConnell accumulated a game-high eight assists.

The win was the Pacers' sixth in eight games since the NBA restart.

Kendrick Nunn matched McDermott's 23-point total to share game-high scoring honors for the Heat, who lost for the fifth time in their eighth rescheduled games.

Solomon Hill added 21 points and Tyler Herro 16 for Miami, while Chris Silva grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. Haslem finished with seven points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes.

--Field Level Media

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