LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Doug McDermott scored 23 points and the Indiana Pacers beat Miami 109-92 on Friday in a game delayed for several minutes late in the third quarter when Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. was carted off the court.
Jones was attempting to get around a screen when he collided with 6-foot-11 Indiana center Goga Bitadze and fell to the floor. Jones lay on his stomach with his right arm on the back of his head for several minutes before he was fitted for a neck brace and carted off the floor.
The injury to the NBA’s reigning slam dunk champion came on a day when both teams were trying to stay as healthy as possible for their upcoming first-round playoff matchup.
Miami and Indiana entered the day tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference at 44-28 records. In a typical season, this regular-season finale would have decided which team got home-court advantage in their first-round series that begins Tuesday. But nobody has a home-court edge this year with the entire postseason taking place at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, so nothing was really at stake Friday.
The Heat sat All-Stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler as well as Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala. T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner didn’t play for Indiana.
Sabonis, the Pacers’ leading rebounder, hasn’t played any games since the restart due to plantar fasciitis and is out indefinitely. Many of the other notable names who didn’t play were simply getting some recovery time as they gear up for the postseason.
Malcolm Brogdon had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. Alize Johnson had 11 points and 17 rebounds to set career highs in both categories. Kendrick Nunn scored 23 points for Miami.