Coach Erik Spoelstra indicated it’s no surprise the Heat were able to pull out a close one and top the Hawks on Monday.
“Our guys are competitors. They love these kind of games,” Spoelstra told reporters. “It gets my stomach twisting and turning and everything. But these guys just love it. It was important to get this two-game set. We knew the context of it.”
- Guard/forward Jimmy Butler neared a triple-double in the victory, recording 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
- Power forward Kevin Love missed his first game since arriving from the Cavaliers, sitting out with a rib contusion. X-rays were negative. He took part in a pregame workout and is considered day-to-day. The Heat host the Cavs on Wednesday and again on Friday.
Coach Quin Snyder and the Hawks have been fairly uneven since he took the job, but that’s typical when a new system is being put in place.
“I want us to be the best team we can be by the end of the year,” Snyder said. “And that’s really what it comes down to, how can we keep improving? Obviously, we want to win –record, standings, playoffs — but I think we’ll be better off if we continue to improve. And in order to do that, sometimes you need to have an off day.”
- Despite some of the losses, guard Trae Young said the Hawks are moving the ball better these days. “We’ve been really moving the ball, scoring,” he told the media. “We’ve just got to make a little more effort on the defensive end.”
While not always winning, the Pacers have shown promise by hanging with some of the top teams regularly, wrote Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star.
Coach Rick Carlisle said much of the credit belongs to point guard Tyrese Haliburton.
“He’s getting better all the time,” Carlisle said, via Dopirak. “A franchise pillar, obviously. He’s changed everything with this organization. He’s changed the entire vibe of it. He’s changed the atmosphere day-to-day in the locker room and the way people view Indiana Pacers basketball.”
- Actor/comedian Will Ferrell and actor/rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson were in attendance for the Pacers’ home loss to the 76ers on Monday night.
- The Pacers honored longtime media relations director David Benner with a moment of silence before Monday’s game. Benner died last week at the age of 67 after a long illness. Before joining the Pacers in 1994, he covered the team for the Indy Star. He also covered Notre Dame football and Indiana University basketball.
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