INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Miami Heat were coming off back-to-back losses and missing four regulars including their leading scorer, so Kyle Lowry sensed a need to score more.
“I haven’t been scoring as much this year as I can, but this was one of those games where you just go out there and play a little more aggressive, a little more assertive and everything else will fall into place,” Lowry said.
The six-time All-Star guard scored a season-high 26 points with six 3-pointers and the short-handed Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 113-104 on Friday night.
Lowry had 20 points by halftime. He finished 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, 9 of 16 overall. He also had nine assists.
The Heat were without leading scorer Jimmy Butler among others, but compensated with 16-of-34 shooting from 3-point range, compared to the Pacers’ 9 of 36.
“Kyle and Duncan (Robinson) really set the tone at the beginning of the game, (they) really got us going,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team led by seven after the first quarter.
The Heat’s Tyler Herro had 18 points with three 3-pointers.
“A bunch of guys made timely shots,” Herro said.
Miami added to an 11-point margin entering the fourth as the lead reached 20 points.
“We’ve got guys who can score, but we need to put more in the defensive end, particularly at the beginning of games,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.
Asked about the team’s confidence, the coach added, “You don’t need confidence to get angry and play hard.”
Caris LeVert scored a season-high 27 points for the Pacers, who have lost four in a row.
“I think maybe there are times where we think about our offense too much,” LeVert said.
The Pacers’ Myles Turner had 20 and Chris Duarte 15. Domantas Sabonis added 14 points and 16 rebounds.
“Early in the game, it was a little bit of effort, they were hitting some really tough shots,” LeVert said. “I think maybe if we were playing just one percent harder, maybe they don’t make those shots.”
The Heat came out firing from long range, making 7 of 10 3-pointers, with Robinson hitting the seventh and adding a free throw for a four-point play and a 30-17 lead with 3:19 remaining in the first quarter. The Pacers trimmed the deficit to 32-25 entering the second.
“We knew this was an opportunity for a lot of people to step up,” said Robinson, who scored a season-high 24 points and made four 3s.
Gabe Vincent’s 3-pointer from well beyond the arc put the Heat ahead 62-55 at halftime. The Heat had a 15-point advantage on 3s, hitting 9 of 20 while the Pacers made 4 of 12.
Heat: Robinson has scored at least 14 points in four consecutive visits to Gainbridge Fieldhouse. … Butler (tail bone), C/F Bam Adebayo (thumb), F Markieff Morris (neck) and G Victor Oladipo (knee) did not make the trip. Butler, who averages a team-high 23.6 points, has been scratched in back-to-back games.
Pacers: Sabonis leads the league with 18 double-doubles. … G Justin Holiday tested positive for COVID-19 and entered the league’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday. The 15-game starter, averaging 9.9 points, had the NBA’s longest active streak of consecutive games at 250. … G T.J. McConnell (wrist) was also inactive.
Heat: At Milwaukee on Saturday.
Pacers: Host Washington on Monday.