Dragic Scores 23, 5th-Seeded Heat Sweep Pacers to Advance
Bam Adebayo got his first playoff series win, but the big man wasn’t planning on celebrating for too long.
He planned to give himself about 2 1/2 hours to enjoy the Miami Heat’s victory over the Indiana Pacers before turning his attention to the Eastern Conference semifinals and a possible date with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
“One hundred percent I think we can get to another gear,” Adebayo said. “And that’s everybody here. This next series might be different. We might need to have different schemes.”
Goran Dragic scored 23 points, Adebayo had 14 points and 19 rebounds and the fifth-seeded Heat completed a first-round sweep, beating the Pacers 99-87 on Monday night. Tyler Herro had 16 points for the Heat, who made it out of the first round for the first time since 2016.
Victor Oladipo had 25 points and Myles Turner added 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have been bounced in the first round of the playoffs in five straight seasons.
“The playoffs are unpredictable and you never know how they can go,” Adebayo said. “The thing I took from this is you have to leave it all on the floor.”
Miami’s bench outscored Indiana’s depleted reserves 38-3.
Dragic’s layup at the end of the third quarter gave the Heat an eight-point lead and the Pacers never mounted a serious comeback in the fourth.
Indiana cut the lead to 91-85 with 3 minutes left, but the Heat got three offensive rebounds on one possession before Herro scored on a driving layup.
The Heat set a franchise playoff record with 124 points in Game 3, but this time they won with defense.
“They played four great games and won in four different ways,” Oladipo said.
Heat guard Jimmy Butler left the game in the first quarter with a left shoulder strain. He returned after halftime and finished with six points in 23 minutes, although he made a handful of big plays on defense.
Butler said the shoulder was bothering him before the game.
“I was hoping it would cool down but it didn’t,” Butler said. “I’ll be OK.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra called it a soft tissue injury.
“He has built up a resume of being able to play through various injuries and his toughness will never be questioned,” Spoelstra said. “In the second half he gave us some really competitive minutes just gutting through it.”
Miami moves on to face the winner of the Magic-Bucks series. Top-seeded Milwaukee dropped the opener to Orlando but has won three straight and would close out the series with a win Wednesday.
“The rest is going to be great for myself and my teammates,” Butler said.
The Pacers played the series without Domantas Sabonis.
“He was our best player this year,” said Nate McMillan, who is 3-16 in the playoffs in his four seasons as Pacers coach, with his team being swept three times. “Once you get in the playoffs, you need everybody. … It was just a tough adjustment for us.”
Heat: Held a 60-34 edge in rebounding.
Pacers: T.J. Warren scored 21 points. … The team shot 41.2% from the field.
Kendrick Nunn saw his first playoff action for Miami, scoring seven points in 14 minutes.
“I’m so proud of Kendrick,” Adebayo said. “He has been through some tough times the last couple of weeks. … I told him to stay locked in. He got his number called and he produced. He stayed locked in and didn’t get discouraged with the situation.”
Oladipo didn’t offer much certainty about his long-term future with the Pacers.
“I can’t really control that right now,” Oladipo said. “I’m not really worried about that right now. … My main focus is on getting healthy.”
McMillan said of Oladipo: “I think next year he will be stronger, more confident and better than he was in this restart.”