MIAMI — The Miami Heat made a case for Bam Adebayo as Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday night.
In his absence.
In a defenseless effort.
Unable to contain an Indiana Pacers offense lacking scoring and assist leader Tyrese Haliburton, the Heat fell, 144-129, at Kaseya Center to close out a 1-2 homestand and fall to 11-9 at the season’s quarter pole.
With Adebayo sidelined by a lingering hip bruise, the Heat seemingly offered a direct path to the rim, with the Pacers more than happy to take what was ceded.
The loss came even with Jimmy Butler scoring 33 for the Heat, Caleb Martin 18, Duncan Robinson 17, Josh Richardson 16 and Orlando Robinson 16.
Because this wasn’t about what the Heat could get on one end.
It’s what they gave up on the other.
The Pacers closed at .659 from the field, including 16-of-32 shooting on 3-pointers.
Included in Indiana’s effort were 76 points in the paint.
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