Finding themselves down their superstar leader Tyrese Haliburton, all of the Indiana Pacers’ players had to step up in order to secure a road win on a Saturday night versus the Miami Heat. Haliburton sat out due to a bone bruise and an illness.
“It’s the next man up mentality,” TJ McConnell said after the 144-129 win.
Four players in the Pacers’ lineup scored 20+ points, with six scoring 10+, showed a Pacers squad with a great amount of chemistry and unselfishness. Every guy on the squad showed up and out to put up 144 points against a team that has one of the best defensive players in the NBA, Jimmy Butler. While Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo among others on the Heat sat out, Miami is always a team to be careful of.
Takeaways from this game
Two players had 11 assists (McConnell and Andrew Nembhard)
This willingness to make one more pass from McConnell or for Nembhard to be able to get in and make plays being a second year guard is huge for the future.
Obi Toppin is finding his groove
The Pacers are seeing their summer trade with the Knicks for Toppin paying dividends. Against the Heat, Toppin posted 22 points, four blocks, shot 4-for-5 from the 3-point line and 4-for-4 from the line. He is playing up to the pace of this quick Pacers team after a seemingly slow start. In this week’s games against the Heat he has dropped 25 and 22 points. In the entire month of November he averaged 13.8 points on 62.2/33.3/76% splits, and has begun to push this squad to punish teams offensively.
Improvements to make this season
This has been a huge problem for the Pacers and will continue to be as long as the focus is on speed. Every inbound looks like a fastbreak from this team, but look for players such as Bruce Brown to step up defensively, and a possible look at Jarace Walker soon might do exactly the same thing.
Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 7:30 p.m. on TNT. (In-Season Tournament)