With the Heat trailing by one-point and time winding down, it was veteran point guard Goran Dragic that saved the day.
As expected, the go-ahead shot was lined up for Jimmy Butler, though, he was short on his attempt. Bam Adebayo managed to tap the ball out, giving the Heat another opportunity that Kendrick Nunn missed before Adebayo hauled in another crucial rebound.
With the game now in its final ten seconds, Adebayo was able to find Dragic at the top amidst the mad scramble of bodies, and the 33-year-old was able to drive into the paint and calmy finish a floater to give Miami a 113-112 lead with 6.8 seconds left.
🗣️ NO QUIT! #HEATCulture | #HEATWin pic.twitter.com/ptylRscXNA- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 28, 2019
Miami were able to deny Indiana at the buzzer to secure a tough win against an Eastern Conference rival that continues to defy the injury odds.
The Heat are now 23-8 on the season, including a league-best 14-1 at home, while the Pacers drop to 21-11 and the sixth spot in the East.
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Bam's big influence
From above, it's easy to understand how Adebayo was able to influence the result of this game.
A monster on the glass, he reeled in 15 rebounds on the night, including six on the offensive end. His ability to consistently give Miami second and third opportunites was huge in a game decided by the barest of margins.
💥 @Bam1of1's got your back @Goran_Dragic! pic.twitter.com/XdPhgPck4y- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 28, 2019
This was highlighted by Miami leading the second chance point count 15-4, as the Pacers were unable to box out the rising star for the Heat.
In addition to his work down low, Adebayo added 18 points and six assists, in yet another stat-stuffing performance for the 22-year-old who is putting his name firmly in the All-Star conversation.
Brogdon's absence costly
With Victor Oladipo nearing his long awaited return, Malcolm Brogdon has been huge for an Indiana Pacers team trying to stay afloat without their star.
Brogdon has averaged 18.3 points and 7.6 assists so far this season, though, his absence was felt mightily in this one.
Not only did the Pacers miss Brogdon's scoring, but they were also lacking the go-to-partner for Domantas Sabonis, who was unusually quiet in this game without his pick-and-roll initiator.
Sabonis finished with just eight points on 4-for-11 shooting, as he struggled to find his usual looks.
Brogdon has a long injury history at both the collegiate level and in the NBA and has now missed six games with various ailments. The Pacers will be hoping he can stay healthy in the back half of the regular-season as they look to finally get their backcourt duo on the floor together.
Best home record in the NBA
While this one was in danger until the final seconds, the Heat pulled through to now possess a 14-1 record on their home floor.
Defense wins it in the end!#HEATCulture #HEATwin pic.twitter.com/UyIHXjBeSt- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 28, 2019
The mark is the best in the NBA, with Boston (13-1), Philadelphia (16-2) and Milwaukee (15-2) also holding dominant records at home.
Overall, the Heat are just one-game behind the Celtics in the loss column, as home court advantage looks to hold as much weight as ever in a surprisingly deep conference.