INDIANAPOLIS – Inside or outside the bubble, the Pacers continue to face early playoff deficits.
Well, at least there’s no road trip to Miami coming down 2-0.
The Pacers are in such a hole following Thursday’s 109-100 defeat to the Heat.
Way too much settling on the offensive end of the floor, and poor defensive recognition at the other end led to Indiana once again failing to put serious game pressure on Miami down the stretch.
The Heat made 18-of-35 three-pointers, with sharpshooter Duncan Robinson getting hot early and making 7-of-8 from long distance.
Down by five at halftime, the Pacers gave up 37 points to the Heat in the third quarter and could not trim the deficit to just a couple of possessions in the final period.
Robinson led Miami with 24 points. Goran Dragic added 20.
For Indiana, 16 turnovers told the story in the halfcourt offense.
Victor Oladipo did play in Game Two, and scored 22 points, but he had 6 of those turnovers.
Myles Turner bounced back with a nice performance, scoring 17 points (7-of-8 shooting) and grabbing 8 rebounds. T.J. Warren was held to 14 points on 7-of-15 shooting.
In franchise history, Indiana has never won a playoff series coming from behind 2-0.
The Pacers and Heat will meet for Game Three on Saturday at 3:30 PM.
Three Things Learned
-Scouting Report Issues: When you are already facing a big deficit personnel wise (playing without Domantas Sabonis), you cannot afford to have lapses when it comes to the scouting report. Nate McMillan said after Game Two that the Pacers knew Heat forward Duncan Robinson was going to be a focal point for Miami after struggling in Game One. Knowing that, the Pacers still did a horrific job in keeping Robinson away from getting looks from deep. Robinson hit 7-of-8 three-pointers and set the tone early with a trio of long balls in the first few minutes. Credit Robinson, who is an incredible shooter, but the Pacers have to do a better job of staying locked in and not leaving him. He’s a ‘no leave’ guy on the scouting report and that means ‘Do. Not. Leave.’ One turn of the head is too late when defending Robinson, and the Pacers paid dearly for that on Tuesday.
-Oladipo Plays, Struggles With Ball Handling: There was no need for any eyewear for Victor Oladipo on Tuesday. Oladipo returned to the lineup and scored 22 points (5-of-14 shooting). Do not let the ’22 points’ fool you though, and chalk it up to a ‘great’ game. The guard really struggled with his ball handling, turning the ball over 6 times and failing to seize favorable matchups by consistently attacking. In a game in which Oladipo shot 8 free throws, he doesn’t need to be settling for 11 three-point attempts (he made 4). In general, the Pacers settled way too much on Thursday. Miami is the premiere three-point shooting the team. The Pacers need to be driving, attacking and getting the ball movement humming to set up perimeter looks. They’ve struggled a lot in traffic against a locked in Miami defense, committing 16 turnovers in Game 2.
-Another Ugly Playoffs Series? Down 2-0 to the Heat, the Pacers have now lost 14 of their last 17 playoff games. All of those have come under Nate McMillan. Easily, the biggest negative on McMillan’s resume is a horrible playoff record. Well, now a couple of 11 and 9-point losses to the Heat have been added to it. Most people expected the Heat to win this series, but it’s still disappointing to see another 2-0 hole. This was the matchup that didn’t include facing LeBron, or a talented Boston team and is on a neutral floor. The Pacers and McMillan need to take a hard look into why the struggles in the playoffs continue, following overachieving regular seasons.
Round 1 Playoff Schedule
Game 3: Saturday (8-22) at 3:30 PM, TNT
Game 4: Monday (8-24) at 6:30 PM, TNT
Game 5: Wednesday (8-26), TBD
Game 6: Friday (8-28), TBD
Game 7: Sunday (8-30), TBD