Just In: Heat struggle without Bam against a historic shooting show by the Pacers, losing 144-129…

Let us consider the bigger picture of the Indiana Pacers’ performance on Saturday night. They missed 14 shots in the latter three quarters after missing 15 in the opening quarter.

And without their star player, too.

All things considered, the NBA’s highest-scoring club just outperformed the Miami Heat in shooting displays, putting on a brilliant offensive display. Tyrese Haliburton, the team’s top scorer, was absent, but Bruce Brown scored 30 points, Obi Toppin added 22, and the Pacers defeated the Heat 144-129.

The start wasn’t awesome,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “But the fight was there from start to finish.”

The Pacers were shooting 36% (9 for 25) at the start of the second quarter after missing their opening shot.

The last 60 shots were an astounding 78% for them.

The Pacers’ final percentage of 66% was the second-best in team history. On October 24, 2017, they shot 67% against Minnesota. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Lakers’ 64% shooting against Miami on November 23, 1988, was the best percentage ever against a Heat club.

Off the bench, T.J. McConnell scored 20 points and dished out 11 assists for Indiana, while Aaron Nesmith scored 20 points for the Pacers.

Miami’s Jimmy Butler scored thirty-three points, while Caleb Martin contributed eighteen. Miami scored 273 points in its two games against the Pacers, which it won 142-132 on Thursday. That was the team’s highest point total in a two-game stretch.

Even though the Pacers were without Haliburton, who scored 44 points in Thursday’s game, the Heat had a 1-1 record in those contests.

Haliburton was dealing with right knee soreness and what the team said was an upper respiratory infection. Carlisle said it was the non-COVID illness, not the knee, that kept Haliburton out on Saturday. Haliburton missed one other game this season — and in that one, the Pacers lost 155-104 to Boston.

They get a second chance at Boston on Saturday in the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals.

“We were in this situation before in Boston when Ty was out and I only had two points,” Brown said. “That’s unacceptable. So, I took a challenge mentally to be better tonight.”

Miami lost starting forward Haywood Highsmith after just three minutes because of back spasms — Martin started the second half in his place — and the Heat were again without All-Star center Bam Adebayo because of a bruised left hip.

Adebayo missed the second half of Thursday’s win because of the hip issue, which has bothered him for a couple weeks, and already has been ruled out of Miami’s next game Wednesday at Toronto. The earliest he might play again is Friday when the Heat play host to Cleveland.

“We just want to take care of it before it does take a turn for something else,” Spoelstra said. “He seems to continue to get hit in that exact same spot, which is almost impossible. But we’ll take care of it.”

Adebayo was clearly missed on the defensive end. The Pacers made 23 of 28 shots in the paint over the middle two quarters, fueling a stretch where they outscored Miami 81-67 over those 24 minutes.

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