Local Sports

Heat Pull Away Late From Pacers

Bam Adebayo has been imploring Jimmy Butler to shoot 3-pointers, and Butler knocked down two big ones late in the fourth quarter to help the Heat pull away for a 113-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

 

Butler scored 28 points and Goran Dragic had 24 for the Heat, who pulled away in the closing minutes, long after the Pacers had lost star guard Victor Oladipo to an eye injury.

 

Adebayo had 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who were just a little bit better in a mostly even matchup between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds, who were separated by a game in the standings in this pandemic-shortened season.

 

Indiana went 6-2 in the seeding games and Miami was 3-5, with the teams splitting a pair of meetings. The Pacers' victory on Friday in the finale allowed them to take the No. 4 seed, which in other years would have been a bigger deal because it meant Indiana would have had home-court advantage.

 

Butler seemed to treat it like a road game, appearing to jaw at one point toward the virtual Pacers fans filling the sides of the arena in the NBA's Disney World bubble - though he said it was to a coach he heard yapping at him.

 

Butler's first 3-pointer pushed a six-point lead to 104-95 with 3:26 left. He then forced a jump ball with T.J. Warren that he won, then came down and hit another 3 with 2:29 to play.

 

T,J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who will try to even the series on Thursday.

 

Oladipo was limited to 8 minutes before he was scratched in the left eye with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter, appearing to be hit first by Miami's Jae Crowder. The Pacers said he visited the NBA's on-campus clinic for further evaluation, which showed no initial concerns. He will monitored over the next few days.

 

Miami opened a 72-62 lead midway through the third quarter but the Pacers used a good finish to knock it down to an 81-80 deficit heading to the fourth.

 

Derrick Jones Jr., who sustained a neck injury Friday that appeared serious when he was taken off the floor on a stretcher, was cleared to play and had six points in 13 minutes. Tyler Herro scored 15 points.

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