Heat Rout Caris LeVert, Pacers 125-96 Behind Duncan Robinson's 26 Points

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2021

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 21: Duncan Robinson #55 of the Miami Heat shoots a three point basket during the game against the Indiana Pacers on December 21, 2021 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

It didn't take the Miami Heat long to bounce back from their loss to the Detroit Pistons.

Miami defeated the Indiana Pacers 125-96 in Tuesday's Eastern Conference clash at FTX Arena. Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro led the way for the victors, who improved to 19-13 overall and 5-2 in their last seven games.

Miami HEAT @MiamiHEAT

Boy Wonder showin' out and the crowd is HYPE πŸ”₯ <a href="https://t.co/EAetIIM7dx">pic.twitter.com/EAetIIM7dx</a>

A solid showing from Chris Duarte wasn't enough for the Pacers, who dropped to 13-19 and saw the momentum they created with a 4-2 stretch come to an end.

Notable Player Stats

  • Kyle Lowry, G, MIA: 8 PTS, 12 AST, 11 REB, 2 STL
  • Duncan Robinson, G MIA: 26 PTS, 6-of-10 3PT
  • Tyler Herro, G, MIA: 26 PTS, 5 AST, 5-of-8 3PT
  • Caris LeVert, G, IND: 17 PTS, 4, REB, 3 AST, 4-of-15 FG
  • Chris Duarte, G, IND: 17 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL

Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro Highlight Dominant Heat Win

If the Heat make the playoffs and challenge in the Eastern Conference, Tuesday's roster surely won't be the one they are hoping to rely on with a championship on the line. After all, they were without Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, P.J. Tucker, Caleb Martin, Markieff Morris and Victor Oladipo and figured to have their hands full keeping pace with Indiana.

And then the game actually happened.

Miami wasted no time setting the tone while jumping out to a commanding 23-point halftime lead behind its red-hot three-point shooting. Robinson led the way from the perimeter with four triples before intermission, while Herro aggressively sought out his shot and flew through the air for a monster dunk.

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TYLER HERRO COOKIN' <a href="https://t.co/ioxKyLJiYq">pic.twitter.com/ioxKyLJiYq</a>

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Herro down the lane πŸ”¨ <a href="https://t.co/7hi7gwgxSH">pic.twitter.com/7hi7gwgxSH</a>


Lowry threw a dime on this play πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/xRs0PTmpjF">pic.twitter.com/xRs0PTmpjF</a>


Duncan Robinson gets the EASY layup βœ…<br><br>He's got 26 PTS. <a href="https://t.co/cnPhxcxtMf">pic.twitter.com/cnPhxcxtMf</a>

Lowry also stood out as the primary facilitator with the ball in his hands so often, and he battled for boards from the backcourt to help make up for the lack of overall depth across the roster.

The Heat continued to put on a show in the second half and closed the third quarter with a 13-2 run to remove any doubt about the outcome.

Robinson stretched the floor with his shooting, which opened up driving lanes for Herro and Lowry. Lowry took advantage of those openings by getting into the lane and then kicking out on his way to double-digit assists, and Max Strus got in on the action with his own three-point barrage.

Many of those who were so dialed in during Tuesday's blowout win will be role players when the roster is more intact, but these games should only bolster their confidence and make Miami all the more dangerous come playoff time.

Pacers Defense Goes Missing in Loss

The Pacers may be better than their record indicates, and the fact they entered play 12th in the league in net rating, per NBA.com, supports that notion.

Tuesday's game against a short-handed Heat squad was a golden opportunity to continue their recent momentum and further prove the slow start was an anomaly, but that chance went to waste right out of the gates.

Indiana struggled on both ends of the floor during an abysmal first half. It had no answer for Robinson on the outside while on defense and then forced the issue with a number of contested looks on offense. Justin Holiday in particular couldn't find his stroke from deep, and Miami made life difficult on Domantas Sabonis by sending double-teams his way on the blocks.


Caris LeVert beats the shot clock πŸ”₯ <a href="https://t.co/2vBldEkDsc">pic.twitter.com/2vBldEkDsc</a>


Arvydas Sabonis pulled up to watch his son, Domantas 🀩 <a href="https://t.co/QMPUAXMoPg">pic.twitter.com/QMPUAXMoPg</a>

Duarte provided a scoring spark off the bench as the lone bright spot during the first half, but it was nowhere near enough to remain within realistic striking distance.

Things got worse for the Pacers when Malcolm Brogdon was ruled out with a sore right Achilles, which did nothing to help their poor defensive effort as Miami continued to keep them at bay. Those defensive concerns were even more poignant when Caris LeVert hitting multiple threes and Duarte continuing to play well did nothing to meaningfully cut into the deficit.

Unfortunately for Indiana, this was another missed chance against a short-handed team.

It also lost to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday even though the reigning champions were missing Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. If the Pacers don't make a run and get back into the playoff picture, they will surely look back on some of these losses against opponents missing their best players.                  

What's Next?

Both teams are home Thursday when the Heat host the Pistons and the Pacers face the Houston Rockets.