Jimmy Butler is built for the bubble.
Butler connected on two big 3-point shots late in the fourth quarter to help the Heat pull away for a 113-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers in the series opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
“It is a collective unit, the five out there we don’t care who scores,” Bam Adebayo shared. “That is the big thing I like about this team; we don’t care who scores. As long as we win at the end of the day and keep advancing, that is what we are worried about.”
Butler scored 28 points, and Goran Dragic helped with 24 for the Heat.
The teams met three straight years in the postseason from 2012-14, the last two in the Eastern Conference finals. Miami won all three series.
Miami commanded a 72-62 lead halfway through the third quarter; nonetheless, the Pacers used an excellent finish to knock it down to a one-point deficit heading to the fourth.
Adebayo had 17 points, ten rebounds, and six assists for the Heat. Adebayo would consistently push Butler to attempt more three-point shots before the game even began. Butler did not make a three-point basket since March 2nd.
“Before the game, after the game, and during the game, it is constant communication,” Goran Dragic shared. “Jimmy finished the game well for us; he closed the game.”
The Heat outscored the Pacers 32-21 in the fourth quarter.
T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon added 22 points apiece to box score for the Pacers, who will try to even the series on Thursday.
Victor Oladipo was limited to 8 minutes before the star guard was scratched in the left eye, with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter. Oladipo and Jae Crowder were attempting a rebound, and Crowder hit him in the eye accidentally.
The beat goes on as the Pacers hope to even the series on Thursday.