It’s the end of the road for the Pacers, who have now lost in the first round of each of the past five seasons. They have had a really strong season, but were without Domantas Sabonis and Jeremy Lamb for the bubble, and Victor Oladipo still hadn’t returned to his pre-injury form after returning earlier this season from a quad tendon. broken. They deserve to be commended for the way they competed, but they just didn’t have enough to face a tough Heat squad.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
1. The butler’s shoulder
Jimmy Butler left Game 4 midway through the first quarter with a shoulder injury and he was initially doubtful to return. After half time, he came out with a giant wrap over his shoulder, along with duct tape, and finished the rest of the game. He did so, however, through obvious pain.
Butler might as well have played one-handed throughout the second half as he used his left arm as little as possible. The most obvious moment came at the end of the third quarter, when he posted, made a big spinning motion towards the baseline and appeared to have an easy layup to the left. Instead, he tried to go up with his right and blocked the shot.
During his exit interview, he admitted he faced a shoulder problem coming into the game and promised he would be fine. You wouldn’t expect anything less from him as he’s one of the toughest players in the league, but that still has to be of concern for the Heat.
Assuming the Bucks wrap up the Magic on Wednesday, they’re ready for a second-round game with one of the best teams in the league and will need Butler at full strength. If he plays one hand like he was in the second half against the Pacers, it’s a blow to their hopes to upset.
2. Heat’s bench dominates
The Heat had one of the best bench units all season. Led by Goran Dragic – who starts now – the Heat reservists finished sixth in the league in the regular season, scoring 41.8 points per game. The only playoff team that had a better bench was the Los Angeles Clippers.
But while Dragic is now the starting point keeper, Miami still has some firepower off the bench, and this group won tremendously in Game 4. They didn’t quite hit the 100 points they did. he Toronto Raptors bench unit put in their game. 4th victory, but the Miami substitutes beat the Pacers 41-3.
That’s a huge margin in any situation, but especially in a low scoring game, and with Butler embarrassed by his sore shoulder. Tyler Herro led the way, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists to continue a very impressive start to the playoffs. In his first four playoff games, Herro scores 16.5 points per game and shoots 36.4% from a 3-point field.
In addition to Herro, the other notable performance off the bench for Miami came from Kendrick Nunn. He only finished with seven points in 14 minutes, but it was the first time he had made all of the playoffs after facing COVID-19. Bringing him back into the lineup is a big boost for the Heat as they approach the second round.
3. Adebayo continues to impress
In the first possession of the third quarter, Bam Adebayo took a pass from Duncan Robinson, and instead of executing one of their familiar dribbles, drove down the middle and with his left hand whipped a pass to the wing, where Goran Dragic buried. a 3 point.
It was a ridiculous pass for a cross, but it underscored just how talented Adebayo has become. In the regular season, he became the second youngest player in history to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game, and now he’s doing it again in the playoffs.
He finished Game 4 with 14 points, 19 rebounds and six assists, and added a steal and block for good measure. During the four-game sweep, the Heat’s net score with Adebayo on the ground was plus-19.3 points per 100 possessions, and when he was seated it was minus-13.6.
While he might not get all the attention, Adebayo is one of the best and most important players on this Heat team. Against the Bucks, they’ll need him even more than usual as they look to slow Giannis Antetokounmpo down. From the way he played against the Pacers, it’s safe to say that Adebayo will be up to the challenge.