INDIANAPOLIS – Home, away or on a neutral court, the Indiana Pacers will enter another offseason searching for just one win in the playoffs.
Monday marked the final day of the Pacers 2019-20 season, as the Heat beat Indiana, 99-87 for the series clinching victory in Game Four.
That means the Pacers have now lost 9 straight playoff games, with being swept in consecutive years.
Nate McMillan tried some different rotational wrinkles in Game Four, but it still couldn’t apply serious late-game pressure for the third of four games in this series.
Indiana’s starters each logged at least 38 minutes of action on Monday, with T.J. McConnell falling out of the rotation, in favor of Edmond Sumner.
Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting, playing a team-high 43 minutes. Myles Turner had his best game of the series, scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
But the offensive punch outside of Indiana’s big 4 (Oladipo, Turner, T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon) was non-existent.
Justin Holiday, Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner, Doug McDermott and Edmond Sumner combined to score just 6 points in 73 combined minutes.
The Heat dominated the offensive glass (17 offensive rebounds) and again executed with poise and efficiency in the closing quarter.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 23 points, with Bam Adebayo scoring 14 points and grabbing 19 rebounds.
Indiana has not won a playoff series since the 2013-14 season, going 3-16 in the playoffs during that span.
Three Things Learned
-Can’t Get Over The Hump: Similar to Game 3, there were some moments in Monday’s second half when the Pacers seemed to be on the cusp of flipping this game. But like we saw all series long, the Heat made plays in the clutch. When the Pacers needed a bucket on Monday it seemed like the grind of all grinds just to convert. For the Heat, they executed with poise and precision, while controlling the glass. Even with the Pacers changing things up by playing their starters in the 40-minute range, they could not sustain control at any point of the game. One trip down the floor for Miami in the game’s closing minutes summed up the series. Down 5, the Pacers gave up 3 straight offensive rebounds, with a Tyler Herro layup deflated any potential run. Miami finished Monday with 17 offensive rebounds (Indiana had 5) as the Pacers rebounding issues continued for an umpteenth season.
-Swept Again: For a second straight year, the Pacers were swept in Round 1 of the Playoffs. Entering this series, it was difficult to find any non-biased human actually predicting a Pacers playoff series win. Still, many thought this was a matchup that would go 6-7 games. The loss of Domantas Sabonis was unquestionably significant. But that doesn’t excuse Indiana for getting sent home after a sweep for a second straight season. Miami ran circles around Indiana in both the coaching, and execution departments.
-Offseason Questions Must Be Asked: The Pacers have not won a playoff series since 2014. If/when the Lakers win their first-round series in Orlando, that will make 20 NBA teams have won at least one playoff series since the Pacers last did. Regular season success obviously means something, but having nothing to show for it in the postseason is a look in the mirror moment for this franchise. What needs to change for the Pacers to be more of a legit threat in the postseason? Coaching tweaks? Personnel changes? Everything needs to be on the table for a team that is now 3-16 in their last 19 postseason games.