Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Miami
|FAN BLOG||TV COMPANION||
SCOUTING THE PACERS: If this one, like the last, turns out to be all about the fourth quarter it will be a true test for the Pacers' progress in that area. The Pacers blew a nine-point fourth quarter lead in Miami last Tuesday and lost 117-112, and very nearly blew a 10-point lead in the final 6 1/2 minutes before hanging on to beat Charlotte 104-103 the next night. But they bounced back down the stretch in back-to-back weekend wins over Minnesota and Milwaukee. The Pacers trailed Minnesota 90-83 entering the fourth quarter but held the Timberwolves to 4-of-20 shooting and outscored them 33-15 in the final period -- with reserves Dahntay Jones and A.J. Price combining for 27 -- to win going away, 116-105. The next night on the road, Danny Granger sparked a 14-0 run with a pair of 3-pointers and the Pacers held the Bucks without a field goal for more than seven minutes to take control in a 103-97 win. In those two games, the Pacers outscored their opponents 61-43 in the fourth quarter and held them to 12-of-46 shooting (.261).
SCOUTING THE HEAT: There obviously is no questioning the brilliance of Miami's big three, but depth has been something of an issue against the Pacers. Indiana's bench has outscored its Miami counterpart 84-28 in two meetings this year as the Heat's reserves have combined to make just 9-of-25 shots (.360). LeBron James has been typically dominant, racking up 66 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in the two games, including a 41-point, 13-rebound outing last week in which he shot 15-of-23. Chris Bosh has been steady with 40 points and 18 rebounds but Dwyane Wade has struggled to 8-of-30 shooting (.267). The X-factor could be Mario Chalmers, who did play at all in the Pacers' early season victory but started last week and scored 16 points. Miami (39-15) is playing the third of a four-game road trip that wraps up Wednesday in Toronto.
QUOTE MARKS: "This team is scrapping and playing their hearts out for that last spot. It’s a competitive conference right now. This is a good basketball team. They have some unique talent. They have a lot of speed. They have guys that can shoot the ball, and they defended well for a majority of the season. They’re playing at a great confidence level right now." -- Miami coach Erik Spoelstra on the Pacers.
INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. For the Heat, Udonis Haslem (left foot) is out.
TICKETS: The game is expected to sell out, although a few seats remain.
BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 6:30. It also will be telecast nationally on NBA TV. 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.
INTERACT: You can chat with other fans around the country in our live game chat, which begins at tipoff.