Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, NBA Playoffs

Heat sweep Pacers as Goran Dragic ignites late in Game 4


The Miami Heat swept the Indiana Pacers thanks to Goran Dragic’s big fourth quarter in Game 4.

Despite the best efforts of Victor Oladipo, T.J. Warren and Myles Turner, the Indiana Pacers‘ 2019-20 season is over after the Miami Heat took Game 4 in a low-scoring affair to sweep this first-round series.

Behind a strong fourth quarter from Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro, the Heat advance to the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, where they will face the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic series. The extra time off will be useful for Jimmy Butler, who was clearly struggling through a shoulder strain on Monday and only managed 6 points on 2-of-5 shooting in the process.

The Pacers were led by their three best available players, with Oladipo (25 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals), Turner (22 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks) and Warren (21 points) accounting for 68 of the team’s 87 points. Unfortunately, they didn’t get enough help to extend their season in the wake of a much more balanced team effort from Miami.

Final

Miami Heat

99

Indiana Pacers

87

What else did you miss in Game 4 between the Heat and Pacers?

MVP: Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic’s final stat line — 23 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals on 10-of-21 shooting — hardly leapt off the page, but when the Pacers threatened to steal Game 4 and keep their season alive, it was the Dragon who burnt those hopes to a crisp.

Finishing the third quarter with a buzzer-beating layup to put Miami up by eight points, Dragic proceeded to score 13 of his team-high 23 points in the final frame, meaning over the last 15:01 of game clock, he poured in 15 points and the prettiest assist of the night:

While it’s unfortunate Kendrick Nunn hasn’t been able to get more run after spending most of the season in the starting role, watching Dragic ignite like he’s back in his 2013-14 Phoenix Suns days has been a delight, especially now that he’s taken over the starting gig again. Erik Spoelstra is rewarding Dragic for embracing his bench role on a winning team, and it’s been great watching him take advantage of the opportunity now that the postseason has arrived.

Strategic advantage: Miami’s superior bench depth

At halftime, the Heat had a whopping 25-3 advantage in bench scoring. By the game’s end, it was even worse, with Miami’s second unit outscoring the Pacers’ bench by a massive 41-3 margin.

Doug McDermott tallied Indiana’s three bench points, going 1-for-4 from the field in his 8 minutes of action. JaKarr Sampson (6 minutes), Edmond Sumner (10 minutes) and Aaron Holiday (13 minutes) were held scoreless on a combined 0-of-3 shooting.

True enough, it’s hard to keep up with the scoring pace when the Heat are a much deeper team capable of trusting their reserves, but that 41-3 scoring contrast was stark, and it was the biggest reason Indiana only managed 87 points in an elimination playoff game.

Unsung hero: Tyler Herro

Tyler Herro finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in his 32 minutes off the bench, but like Dragic, he came alive in the final frame to help Miami stave off Indiana’s last attempts at a desperate comeback, chipping in 7 fourth-quarter points at the most opportune moments.

His incredible scoop layup at a critical juncture was perhaps the prettiest bucket of the night as well:

Herro’s ability to stay on the floor late in tight playoff games bodes well for Miami moving forward, especially since he’s still only a rookie. Spo’s trust in him is encouraging, as is Herro’s confidence to take and make big shots on a team that already has Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic.

Next: 5 candidates to replace Brett Brown as 76ers head coach





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