Robinson leads Heat past Pacers for 2-0 lead
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Goran Dragic had a little simple advice for Duncan Robinson before Game 2: Just shoot.
Robinson listened, hitting his first six shots — all from 3-point range. He finished with 24 points and the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 109-100 on Thursday for a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
“I don’t care if he miss 18 shots, 18 3s,” Dragic said. “`I want you to shoot every time. Don’t pump fake. We need you, and you can see it.’ He didn’t hesitate today, and that’s how we want him.”
Robinson opened the game by making the Heat’s first three buckets, all 3s. He didn’t miss until midway through the third quarter, and Robinson tied the Heat record for 3s in a playoff game with seven. He finished 7-of-8 shooting, all beyond the arc, in a big improvement from Tuesday when he was 2 of 8.
“Just felt a better rhythm in this one for whatever reason,” Robinson said. “But that can’t be the case for me. I got to kind of assert myself and not just have the game necessarily come to me, but be more aggressive. So I thought that was big and then obviously you see some go early, the hoop starts to look a little bigger.”
Dragic scored 20 points, Jimmy Butler had 18 points and six assists, rookie Tyler Herro added 15 points off the bench, and Jae Crowder scored 10.
Victor Oladipo, who had been questionable with an injured left eye, led Indiana with 22 points. Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon each had 17 points. T.J. Warren had 14 and Aaron Holiday had 12.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan said they know Robinson is an elite shooter and expected the Heat would try to get him involved. Robinson made a team-record 270 3s during the regular season.
“We really set and talked about the first play of the game,” McMillan said. “We knew it was going to him, and sure enough, it went to him to try to get him going. He’s a big part of what they do, and he was able to knock down the first 3 and just stayed hot from behind the 3-point line all night.”
The fifth-seeded Heat went 3-1 against the Pacers during the regular season. Now Miami has won the first two of the first opening-round series between these franchises. The Heat are looking to improve to 4-1 against Indiana in the playoffs.
Robinson’s early 3s gave the Heat a 12-3 lead. Indiana led 24-22 at the end of the first quarter. The Pacers last led 39-38 on a jumper by Warren with 3:43 left in the second.
Butler hit a 3 as Miami took control. The Heat led 51-46 at halftime, then used an 11-2 run for their biggest lead of the game at 79-63 on a 3-pointer by Crowder with 4:51 left in the third. Indiana couldn’t get closer than eight in the fourth.
Heat: Not only did Robinson hit his first three 3s, the entire team shot well from long range. They hit 8 of 16 in the first half to make up for their poor shooting at the free throw line (11-of-18). The Heat finished 18 of 35 from 3-point range (51.4%), setting a team playoff record for made 3s.
Pacers: The NBA’s third-best 3-point shooting team during the season struggled, hitting only 12 of 34 (35.3%). … The Pacers outscored Miami 40-34 in the paint.
Dragic pretended to give Butler CPR after Butler took a charge from Warren with 1:22 left, knocking the All-Star backward with his head banging into Heat forward Bam Adebayo’s left knee. Dragic said he and Butler have great chemistry, and the Heat are trying to enjoy this postseason.
“I saw Jimmy was really tired, and I give him a little it of CPR, try to give us some energy and just try to be me,” Dragic said.
Game 3 is Saturday.