3. Big time nights from unlikely components
A team can have balanced scoring all they want. Ultimately, the game usually comes down to a few players that helped lead the way and for Indiana tonight, it was two guys that contributed the most.
Let's start with Bruce Brown. Despite discussion about his contract being an overpay, Brown has shown the ability to come through when the team needs an offensive boost and do everything he can to prove his worth.
Already a capable defender, Brown is still developing his offensive game to match with his defense, and from the looks of it, he is doing a good job. Against the Heat, Brown led the team with 30 points on 11/16 from the field and 4/6 from deep.
Brown has taken strides as a scorer with the Pacers, and it was only a matter of time before he had his first 30-point game as a Pacer. Luckily, he chose the night the team needed it most.
While Brown's contributions were certainly impressive, the real MVP of the night is TJ McConnell. After logging a DNP for the first Miami game, McConnell saw increased minutes without Haliburton on the floor and a shortened point guard rotation and stepped up to the plate.
Despite an inconsistent season, McConnell was everything the team needed on Saturday and more, scoring 20 points on near-perfect efficiency and dishing out 11 assists, making up for Andrew Nembhard's scoring shortcomings by doing it himself.
These contributions get McConnell the game ball by themselves, but it is even more impressive that he did this while coming off the bench, logging his first double-double of the season on a night when the team needed every bit of it.
With Haliburton most likely healthy to play on Monday against Boston, hopes are high for a huge win for Indiana to advance to the semi-finals of the In-Season Tournament and remain undefeated.