After building a lead with Roy Hibbert on the bench, the Indiana Pacers faltered in the waning moments of a 97-94 loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Leading throughout the fourth quarter, Indiana's offense failed to score a field goal in the final three-plus minutes as the Heat rallied from a seven-point deficit.
For the Pacers, this likely comes as an especially painful loss. Despite being without Hibbert for most of the game -- he recorded his fifth foul after just 17 minutes of game time -- the team's collapse actually came with its defensive anchor on the court.
Leading, 84-78, the Pacers brought Hibbert back into the game to put things away, and for the first couple minutes afterwards, it appeared that would happen. But with the Miami offense gaining momentum in front of an excited home crowd, the Pacers needed to match with some offensive execution of their own.
Instead, the final 3:20 looked like a disaster for Indiana: 0-of-5 from the field, one turnover, zero offensive rebounds. The only two points came on a pair of free throws from David West. While the Pacers have typically turned to Paul George on offense this season, for good reason, that didn't work in crunch time Wednesday. He wasn't happy about it:
For Miami, it's getting hard to ignore how well Dwyane Wade is playing these days. While the debate continues on how age impacts his game, Wade delivered 32 points on 15-of-25 shooting on a night when the three-pointers weren't really falling for the Heat. He's averaging 27.6 points on 61 percent shooting over the past three contests.
The win improves Miami to 19-6, and Indiana drops to 20-5.