Jimmy Butler Took Over Late To Lead The Heat To A Game 1 Win Over The Pacers

The Pacers-Heat series promised to be one of the most anticipated matchups of the opening round, if only for all the chippiness and bad blood between Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren, the latter of whom has been on a blistering streak for Indiana since the season resumed in Orlando last month.

And Game 1 didn’t disappoint, as the Pacers gave the Heat everything they could handle, but ultimately came up short as Miami got the 113-101 win to take a 1-0 series lead. Butler won the head-to-head battle, leading all scorers with 28 points, four assists, three rebounds, four steals, and a pair of blocks. But Warren was outstanding in his postseason debut, finishing with 22 points and eight rebounds and three of his four attempts from outside the arc.

Butler didn’t waste any time getting on the board, showing his aggressiveness in the opening minutes and taking it strong to the rack on the break.

And Warren wasn’t shy getting started in his postseason debut on the other end, putting points on the board in a variety of ways.

The Pacers took a 33-27 lead into the second quarter, but there was a scary moment for Victor Oladipo, who appeared to get poked in the eye and was forced to leave the game and was unable to return. There’s been no official word about the nature or severity of his injury, but Oladipo’s absence could be a huge turning point in this series if he has to miss significant time.

Justin Holiday was heating up for the Pacers in the first half, hitting all three of his attempts from three-point range and finished a perfect 4-of-4 from the field for 11 points on the night.

Indiana also got quality contributions from JaKarr Sampson, who put up six points and three rebounds in seven minutes of action in the first half and played solid defense.

Butler led the way for Miami in the early going with 14 points, including this two-handed jam off a nice little out-of-bounds play. Bam Adebayo added 12 points as Miami took at 56-52 lead into the half.

Goran Dragic got it going in the second half, scoring seven points to start third quarter to help Miami build an eight-point lead.

But Warren continued his hot shooting in the third quarter, and Malcolm Brogdon helped keep the Pacers within striking distance, scoring eight points in the quarter and leading a 9-1 run to pull within one, 81-80, going into the final quarter.

Dragic caught fire in the fourth quarter, hitting several big shots and scoring 14 points in the final frame to give the Heat an eight-point lead with five minutes remaining.

But it was Butler who helped put the game away, hitting back-to-back three-pointers, despite being near the bottom of the league in three-point shooting all season. It capped a 22-10 run and gave the Heat their largest lead of the night, from which Indiana would not recover.

Game 2 tips off on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on TNT, as Indiana will look to close much better and Miami will be seeking a stranglehold on the series with back-to-back wins.