Michael Reaves | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – Staring down a third straight road loss, the Indiana Pacers made sure Victor Oladipo had the support this time for a late-game push.
The result was a 16-2 run to come back and beat the Heat in Miami, 110-102, on Friday night.
Needed contributions from both Darren Collison and Myles Turner gave Indiana (8-5) their fifth straight road victory, the longest such streak for the franchise since the 2011-12 season.
Like he’s done all season long, Oladipo was the catalyst for the Pacers. Not only did Oladipo continue his dozen-game streak of scoring at least 20 points, but he also dished out a season-high 10 assists, against just 1 turnover. Oladipo also added 5 rebounds and 4 steals.
Earlier in the week, the Pacers did not have enough around Oladipo though to earn home victories over the Rockets and 76ers.
They did on Friday night.
Collison bounced back from a scoreless night against Philadelphia, with 17 points and 4 assists.
“His performance tonight is what I’ve been looking for,” McMillan said of his starting point guard. “Our guards establishing that pace/tempo that we want to play with. I feel like (Friday) he pushed the ball every chance he got. We played in a flow at the offensive end of the floor.
“He was aggressive, and I thought his defense was really good. He set the tempo which both he and Victor need to do every night for us.”
Turner’s stat line (8 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes) will not turn many heads, but he made some key plays late, as the Pacers erased a 100-94 deficit with less than 4 minutes to play.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or says, but he made the big plays down the stretch,” Oladipo said of his starting center. “He made winning plays, and that’s what we needed him to do.”
The Pacers really needed those types of efforts on Friday, after Thaddeus Young was ejected for a very questionable flagrant 2 foul late in the first half.
Without Young, the Pacers relied on Cory Joseph seamlessly sliding into the starting lineup after halftime. Joseph finished with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
The Heat were undermanned in the backcourt on Friday, playing without All-Star Goran Dragic and Dwayne Wade.
Three Pacers’ Takeaways:
–Others Step Up: The Thad Young ejection, the first in his 12-year NBA career, was laughable. But the Pacers banded together with a makeshift lineup, involving a point guard (Joseph) taking the place of Indiana’s best rebounder in the starting lineup. Joseph isn’t going to receive many headlines in a season, but his contributions should not go unnoticed. The guy just fills up the stat sheet, does a little bit of everything and is the exact role player a team needs to survive an NBA season. Young might be 6 inches taller than Joseph, but the veteran point guard still made sure things wouldn’t drop off without their starting power forward. Joseph finished with a team-high 14 points, on 6-of-7 shooting and added 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
–Turner Bounces Back: Coming into Friday, it was a week to forget for Myles Turner. He was a big reason why Indiana lost close games to the Rockets and 76ers. Turner was definitely a reason why Indiana’s losing streak didn’t extend to a third game for the first time this season. Again, Turner’s stat line won’t please fantasy owners. But there were important plays from him late, as Nate McMillan trusted his starting center to close this game out, as opposed to Domantas Sabonis (who had another double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds). After the game, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged Turner’s rim presence as a reason why Indiana ended the game on a 16-2 run. The Pacers still need more production Turner moving forward, but Friday was a positive step after some major struggles on Monday and Wednesday.
–Road Warriors: After losing by double-digits in each of their first two road games of the season, the Pacers have rattled off 5 in a row away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. And the last 3 have come with Indiana making some critical plays late to earn those wins over the Knicks, Bulls and Heat. The Pacers are now 5-2 on the road this season and 3-3 at home. The Pacers and Raptors have won the most road games in the NBA this season. After a road game in Houston on Sunday, Indiana will play just one more road game in the next two weeks, before the first western road trip of the season to close out November.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-at Houston (Sunday, 11/11)
-Miami (Friday, 11/16)
-Utah (Monday, 11/19)
-at Charlotte (Wednesday, 11/21)
-San Antonio (Friday, 11/23)