The Miami Heat outshined the Indiana Pacers with a 124-115 victory on Saturday to secure a commanding lead of 3-0 in their first-round playoff series in the Eastern Conference. A fourth straight victory on Monday in the best-of-seven series could help Miami round off against Milwaukee or Orlando in the Eastern semifinals.
Jimmy Butler scored 27 points for the Heats while Goran Dragic contributed with 24 points and six assists. Bam Adebayo scripted a well-earned double-double with 11 rebounds and 22 points. Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Jae Crowder chipped in with 20, 15, and 11 points respectively.
Heat's Continued Lead
Malcolm Brogdon recorded postseason career-highs with 34 points and 14 assists — both game-highs — for the Pacers, who outshot the Heat 48.8 percent to 45.3. T.J. Warren went for 23 points and Victor Oladipo had 20 for Indiana.
The fifth-seeded Heat led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter and 74-56 at the half before the fourth-seeded Pacers scored the first seven points of the third quarter to kick-start a comeback.
Brogdon's Efforts Go in Vain
Indiana got within 94-90 at the period's end, and closed within two on three occasions in the final period, including one final time at 114-112 when Brogdon nailed a 3-pointer with 2:21 to go. The Pacers forced misses on each of the Heat's next two shots, but Adebayo retrieved each and turned the second into a pair of free throws to increase the advantage to four with 1:39 to play.
Butler (four) and Dragic (two) iced the win with six subsequent free throws as Miami held the Pacers without a point from the 2:21 mark until Brodgon bombed in another 3-pointer with 8.0 seconds left after Indiana had fallen behind 122-112.
The Pacers had inched within 111-109 with 4:07 to go on a Brogdon two-pointer. But that time, Adebayo dropped in one of two free throws, then connected on a short jumper on Miami's next possession to open a 114-109 margin. Myles Turner scored 15 as part of a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds, and Aaron Holiday had 10 points for Indiana.
(With inputs from agencies)