3. Rick Carlisle's stubbornness
You may be asking that if Hield was so bad in the fourth quarter, why wasn't he subbed out? The answer to this is a tricky one, and for it, we have to know something about Rick Carlisle.
It is no secret that Carlisle favors veteran players over youngsters, which is why he has been so stingy with Jarace Walker's minutes so far. However, there is a line to draw between stingy with youngsters and downright stubborn.
In the fourth quarter, Hield played the most minutes alongside Haliburton despite playing far worse and almost single-handedly shot Indiana out of the game, taking seven threes and only making two of them.
Despite all of this, Rick Carlisle still kept him in the game, having multiple chances to take him out and refusing each time. With the Heat double-teaming Haliburton and scoring easily on back cuts, Jarace Walker could have easily been added to the defense lines to provide some playmaking and defensive help. He only saw nine seconds of playing time, though, as Hield stayed in the game until he fouled out.
This has led to a lot of Pacers fans criticizing Carlisle's decision to keep Hield in the game for so long, and for good reason. Without watching the game and just looking at the box score, it is still clear how much Hield hurt the team, especially down the stretch.
For Carlisle to keep him in for so long while only playing Bennedict Mathurin for six minutes, Bruce Brown for seven minutes, and Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard for a combined 18 seconds was simply absurd.
Pacers fans have usually been patient with Carlisle, as he has shown an ability to stay focused on the rebuild and has done wonders for Tyrese Haliburton's development. However, Thursday night's misfortunes have led to a large chunk of the fanbase wanting to hold Carlisle accountable for his errors, and for good reason.
There was no reason for Hield to play as much as he did while playing as poorly as he did, and Carlisle saw what was happening and did nothing, which ultimately led to Indiana coming out with another loss to drop their record dangerously close to .500 at 9-8.
With another Heat matchup in Miami coming up on Saturday, the Pacers may finish this Florida trip with an overall record of 9-9, not good for future playoff aspirations and most definitely not a great look going into their In-Season Tournament quarterfinal matchup against Boston on Monday.