INDIANAPOLIS – The Miami Heat were testy ahead of their game against Indiana after coach Eric Spoelstra categorized his team as “mediocre” on the road.
An altercation in the third quarter elevated the Heat's game that much more.
In the midst of the Heat outscoring the Pacers 38-23 in the third quarter on the way to a 122-108 rout, Jimmy Butler exchanged bumps, words and gestures with Indiana's T.J. Warren, who was ejected.
Afterward, Warren said nothing. Butler didn't hesitate to speak his mind.
“I mean, to me, I think it's tough for him because I can guard him and he can't guard me,” Butler said. “At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to. I think you've just got to watch your mouth in certain situations. There's some (crap) you just don't say as a man. He's got to see me the next time because I feel like what he said was truly disrespectful.”
The Heat had little trouble in handling the Pacers.
Butler scored 14 points and was one of seven Miami players in double figures. Another was Bam Adebayo, who had 18 in three quarters and said the road effort had something to do with Spoelstra's “mediocre” comment. The Heat improved to 10-9 in road games.
The Heat built a 28-point lead by the end of the third quarter and rested the starters.
Tyler Herro led Miami with 19 points, Derrick Jones had 18 and Duncan Robinson scored 11 of his 17 in the third quarter. Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn each scored 14.
The Pacers were led by forward Domantas Sabonis, with 27 points and 14 rebounds for his 30th double-double of the season.
“Just collectively as a unit, they controlled this game from the start,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.
The Pacers will be getting help soon as guard Victor Oladipo said Wednesday he hopes to return to game action Jan. 29 against the Chicago Bulls.
It's the first time since Oladipo sustained a season-ending knee injury last January that the team or the two-time All-Star has established a specific date.
And though Oladipo acknowledges nothing is definite, he's confident he will be able to play against the Bulls.
The two-time All-Star has spent nearly a year working his way back from a ruptured quad tendon that required season-ending surgery and an extensive rehab program. He's been working out with the team since training camp last fall.
PELICANS 123, BULLS 108: In New Orleans, Brandon Ingram had 29 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and New Orleans defeated Chicago to drop the Bulls to a fifth straight loss.
JJ Redick hit six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, while rookie Jaxson Hayes had 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to help the Pelicans win for the seventh time in 10 games.
Zach LaVine scored 32 for the Bulls, who are in the midst of their longest losing streak this season. Thaddeus Young scored 18 in his return to the city where he was born. Kris Dunn scored 15 points and Lauri Markkanen added 14 for the Bulls.
Chicago led by six early in the third quarter before New Orleans went on a 15-3 run that put the Pelicans in front for good. Ingram scored nine during that surge, starting it with a 3, adding another from deep and then hitting three free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
New Orleans continued to pull away in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 21.