Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Heat
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SCOUTING THE PACERS: Frank Vogel's first week on the job couldn't have gone any better. The second offers a bit more of a challenge. The Pacers went 4-0 in Vogel's first seven days as head coach but their opponents had a combined record of 62-134 (.316). The next eight days offer two matchups with the Heat, Tuesday night in Miami and a week later in Conseco Fieldhouse. And if that wasn't tough enough, Miami will be supremely motivated by the last meeting between the teams, a 93-77 blowout by Indiana on Nov. 22. In that game, the Pacers forced 22 turnovers, held Miami to 38.7 percent shooting and a season-low point total as Dwyane Wade had one of the first nights of his career, scoring just three points on 1-of-13 shooting. Brandon Rush drew the defensive assignment against Wade that night and scored 20 points but has missed the last six games with a sprained right ankle. He's getting close to returning but his status for this game is uncertain. The Pacers have played well at both ends under Vogel, scoring at least 100 points in four straight games for the first time this season while limiting opponents to averages of 94.5 points and 41 percent shooting. They've also won the battle of the boards in all four games by an average margin of 14.5.
SCOUTING THE HEAT: Miami was very much at low ebb when it was dominated by the Pacers in American Airlines Arena as the Heat wobbled out to a 9-8 start. The team has caught fire since, going 28-6 and rides a six-game winning streak into the rematch. LeBron James, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, averaged 26.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists in four Heat wins last week. Indiana enjoyed a dominating 40-4 advantage in bench scoring in the first meeting but Miami has gotten an average of 31 points from its bench in the last four games, with Eddie House totaling 31 in the last two and Mike Miller -- who missed the last meeting with a thumb injury -- producing 26 points and 18 rebounds in the last three.
QUOTE MARKS: "Even though we haven’t played the best teams, the ones you’re supposed to be better than you have to beat anyway. We've got to beat these teams and we will be tested in Miami." -- Pacers forward Danny Granger.
FAN NIGHT: You can help get next week's Pacers-Heat game in Conseco Fieldhouse on national television through NBA TV's Fan Night promotion. Beginning Tuesday morning, you can cast your vote here for putting the Feb. 15 game in NBA TV. Voting continues through Thursday so vote early and often.
INJURY REPORT: For the Pacers, Brandon Rush (sprained right ankle) is day-to-day. For the Heat, Udonis Haslem (left foot surgery) is out.
TICKETS: Buy now for the rematch on Feb. 15 in Conseco Fieldhouse.
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Clark Kellogg calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 7:00. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bob "Slick" Leonard, with Kevin Lee reporting.