After an embarrassing second-half effort against the Miami Heat on Thursday, where they blew a double-digit lead despite a career-high night from Tyrese Haliburton, the Indiana Pacers returned to Kaseya Center for the second time in three nights to face the Heat once again; however, this game came with a caveat.
Unfortunately, Tyrese Haliburton did not play on Saturday due to a right knee bruise and an upper respiratory infection. In addition, backup center Jalen Smith would miss his second game in a row due to problems in his left knee and left heel.
Considering the only other game the Pacers played without Haliburton this season ended in a 51-point loss to the Boston Celtics, expectations were pretty low on the night, with many saying they would feel satisfied if Indiana simply stayed competitive.
And stay competitive, they did. Following a Miami-driven first quarter, the Pacers would take charge for the rest of the game, outscoring the Heat in the second quarter to enter the half tied up at 65 and would kick it up a notch or two in the second half.
Despite missing the very engine of their offense, Indiana would still put up 79 points in the second half and came up with the win in the end, outscoring Miami in three out of the four quarters.
This win puts Indiana above the Heat in the East standings as they climb to the sixth seed before their In-Season Tournament quarterfinal matchup with the Boston Celtics on Monday.
With such a miraculous win without their superstar, there had to have been others who stepped up. Let's take a look at how Indiana came away with this win and what it means for the future.