Duncan Robinson's playoff debut Tuesday was about as disappointing as it could have been despite the Miami Heat's win.
Suffice it to say his second effort went better.
Robinson scorched the nets on his way to 24 points Thursday, leading the Heat to a 109-100 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of their first-round series. Miami, which got 20 points from Goran Dragic and 18 from Jimmy Butler, leads the best-of-seven affair 2-0.
Robinson knocked down seven of his eight attempts from three-point range, atoning for a disappointing six-point effort in Game 1.
Five Pacers scored in double figures, led by Victor Oladipo with 22.
G Duncan Robinson: 24 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal
G Jimmy Butler: 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals
G Goran Dragic: 20 points, six assists, three rebounds
G Victor Oladipo: 22 points, four assists, two steals
C Evan Turner: 17 points, eight rebounds, five blocks
G Malcolm Brogdon: 17 points, nine assists, five rebounds
Heat Are the Most Cohesive Team in Bubble
There are several more talented teams than Miami. The higher ceilings of those rosters make it unlikely the fifth-seeded Heat get past the second round, especially with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks likely awaiting.
That said, there is no more cohesive team in the sport right now. The Heat play intelligent, tough basketball, thanks to the smarts of coach Erik Spoelstra and under Butler's leadership. There are no easy wins against these Heat at full strength.
Bam Adebayo provides a defensive anchor on the inside, with Butler doing the job on the perimeter. Robinson and Tyler Herro stretch the floor, and Dragic gives them a little off-the-dribble madness when the flow offense isn't working. Andre Iguodala is around to do...well, Andre Iguodala things.
Assuming Miami gets two more wins in this series, it's going to be a tough out against the Bucks.
The Indiana Pacers and the State of Playoff Despair
The Pacers have made the postseason each of the last five seasons. Here is how the last four played out.
- 2016: first-round exit
- 2017: first-round exit
- 2018: first-round exit
- 2019: first-round exit
If the fourth-seeded Pacers don't wind up winning a game from the Heat, this will be the third time in four years they've been swept out of the first round. They are 3-14 in the playoffs under Nate McMillan.
Here's the thing: It's not like they could have realistically done better. McMillan was handed a bad roster his first season and snuck them into the playoffs thanks to Paul George, brought them back to the postseason a year later thanks to the ascent of a post-George Oladipo and has been dealing with bad injury luck ever since.
Oladipo missed the second half of last season and all but 19 regular-season games in 2019-20. He still doesn't look 100 percent and was dealing with an eye injury coming into Game 2. Domantas Sabonis developed into an All-Star in Oladipo's stead, only to get injured in the ramp up to the season's return and miss all of bubble action.
There is no clear answer here. That said, the Pacers need to get out of this cycle of first-round despair somehow.