The Miami Heat inbounded the ball with 16 seconds on the clock, snagging T.J. McConnell on a screen. That was enough to free up Tyler Herro to tie the game on a wide open three. It capped a 10-1 run for the Heat, tying the game after trailing by nine with less than three minutes on the clock.
It was a familiar situation for the Indiana Pacers, who have recently given up late game leads with deft precision, including one to Miami just 11 days prior. Instead of backing into a win or simply not getting one, the Pacers had a response.
Out of their last timeout, Rick Carlisle opted to run the full court. Tyrese Haliburton brought the ball up the court, shadowed by Kyle Lowry. Herro came up to guard Haliburton at the half court, causing Lowry to switch onto Andrew Nembhard. Haliburton pulled up his dribble, but instead of challenging a potential shot, Herro drifted back towards Nembhard, freeing up Haliburton for his own wide open three from the halo, drilling the game winner.
It was the perfect capper for Haliburton, closing out the win with a career best 43 points to help Indiana to move back above .500. Haliburton got there by hitting 10 threes, a Pacers franchise record, four coming in the opening quarter. That shooting, along with an equal output from Buddy Hield, gave Indiana an early lead, but they struggled to build one as the game went back and forth through the second quarter.
Miami took the lead into halftime after waking up a bit from deep themselves, scoring the first five of the third quarter while sending Myles Turner to the bench with four fouls. Bennedict Mathurin, in his second start, put Indiana on the board in the second half and Jalen Smith scored six in the quarter, including four in an 8-0 run that put the Pacers back in the lead.
Once again, however, the Pacers were unable to build on that advantage, leading by just two heading into the fourth after Victor Oladipo ended the third with a triple, assisting on the tying bucket to open the fourth. Back-to-back threes from Hield pushed the lead back out to six and Turner scored his first bucket off of an impressive offensive rebound to extend the lead to eight.
Turner played a big part in Indiana’s fourth quarter success, scoring again on an and-one as the Pacers finally broke through, extending the lead to double figures for the first time midway through the fourth. The lead was as high as 12 when Miami began to climb back in it, scoring on three of their next four possessions to cut the deficit to four with two minutes left.
The Pacers, meanwhile, picked a bad time to go cold, missing five straight shots, allowing Miami to tie things up on the Herro three. Fortunately, it all ended well for Indiana following the Haliburton game winner, improving Indiana to 17-16 on the year on the 111-108 victory.
Not only did Haliburton set career high in points (43) and franchise record in made threes (10), he did so on 14-20 shooting, 10-16 from deep. It was a complete turnaround for him following the recent loss to Miami where he recorded just one point on 0-9 shooting. While there was uncertainty with his play in that game, it was all confidence tonight as he totaled seven assists as well and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line.
Even as Haliburton knocked down three after three, he was being chased all night by Hield, who finished with a season high-tying seven on 7-11 shooting, scoring 21 points. The duo combined for 17 of Indiana’s 21 threes on the night, the fourth time this season the Pacers have eclipsed 20 made threes.
Their shooting opened up a lot for the Pacers inside, particularly from Smith, who had an excellent game spelling Turner’s foul trouble, scoring 14 points with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Turner meanwhile scored five, all in the fourth, pulling in 11 boards. Along with Oshae Brissett (six points and six rebounds), the Pacers were able to outrebound the Heat 43-38 despite allowing 13 offensive rebounds on the night, though they were able to hold Miami to just seven second chance points, all despite allowing 52 in the paint.
The win moves Indiana to 2-1 in the season series with Miami, keeping them at eighth in the East. Haliburton in particular has played at an elite level since the team’s disappointing loss to New York, scoring 76 points with 15 assists the last two games, both wins. Who’s to say what’s motivating Haliburton or if such a thing will continue to motivate him, but in the meantime, he and the Pacers will have a shot at a perfect road trip when they face the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.