The only good thing the Indiana Pacers did all night was gloss over the final score to make it look a hundred times closer than it actually was, but don't let it fool you; the Pacers struggled to keep this game within 30 all night. Indiana did have a chance to win, but that disappeared about a minute into the first quarter when a couple of nice plays by Darren Collison led to six straight Miami points that snowballed and snowballed and eventually turned into an avalanche.
At first glance, you'd think Indiana were the ones on their third night of a back-to-back-to-back, not the Heat, who looked fresh and active in a way the flatfooted Pacers didn't even try to bring. Of course, bad went to worst when Danny Granger exited the game late in the first quarter with a left ankle sprain and wouldn't return. But really, why risk it?
How did bad go to worst? On the Pacers side of things, they did everything wrong. On the Miami side, they did everything right. More specifically, Indiana struggled to get a single good look. They weren't able to convert at all around the rim, and when they weren't forcing bad shots or getting bad rolls, they seemed to be turning it over. Of course, Indiana didn't help their chances by giving Miami quality looks almost every trip down the floor.
It wasn't until halfway through the second quarter before the Pacers even got more than 4 consecutive points, a "run" that was halted at 5. But part of the reason the Pacers didn't even appear to show up was the way the Miami Heat rotated on defense; anticipating with exceptional ability and keeping Indiana's offensive rhythm off key all night.
In the end, there is no excuse for what happened tonight. The Pacers came out flat against a team that was on their third night of games (and third on the road). The game was also on NBA TV, just in case there was hope no one saw it. Indiana didn't even look to go back to basics on their days off; they went back to zero. As for highlights? David West had some solid stretches, Dahntay Jones and Paul George had dunks, and Roy Hibbert may have had a good game if he were able to hit some of his shots.
So now what? The Pacers have lost four straight games, have two more games in two more nights, and may be without Danny Granger to an ankle sprain. Most importantly, they haven't looked like a solid team in a week, but probably more. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving may make his return tomorrow night for the Cavaliers, so that's something to look forward to as the Pacers head onto the road to battle Cleveland.