Tuesday, January 8th at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Game Preview: IND vs MIA

by Scott Agness | January 8, 2013

Matchup

The defending NBA Champion Miami Heat open a six-game road trip in Indianapolis on Tuesday before heading out west for their next five games. It will be the first of three meetings this season between the two teams who met in the second round of the playoffs last year. Miami defeated Indiana in the series four games to two, after the Pacers went up 2-1.

Bankers Life Fieldhouse is sure to be loud all night and filled to capacity for Tuesday's contest. The Heat (22-9) are the class of Eastern Conference, but they have a handful of teams on their heels. The Pacers will try to contain LeBron James, the NBA’s reigning MVP, and Dwyane Wade—as is the case with every team that plays the Heat. The Heat go as those two go.

Montieth: Heat Game Should Bring Out Best in Pacers »

Paul George will get the assignment of guarding James, who’s fourth in the league in scoring (26.5 points per game). It’s a challenge he is excited about. Coach Vogel has said over the last month that George is one of the best wing defenders in the league. Here's his chance to prove it.

In the offseason, future Hall of Famer Ray Allen signed with the Heat, as did Rashard Lewis. Allen, who is shooting 46 percent from downtown, along with Lewis and Shane Battier are all sharpshooters the Pacers will have to account for. The Heat have the best field goal percentage in the NBA at 49 percent. Chris Bosh is quite the third option for the Heat, averaging 18 points and about eight rebounds per game.

If the Pacers can slow the Heat down, the statistics are in their favor. The Heat are 0-4 when they score in the 80s. The Pacers' bench will also be critical because with a team of the Heat’s caliber, they can’t afford a drop-off. Through 34 games this season, the bench has been one of the Pacers' biggest weaknesses. Miami hasn't lost (9-0) when their bench outscores the opponent's bench.

The Heat have the best record in the Eastern Conference – just above New York and Atlanta – but six of their nine losses have come on the road. A win for the Pacers, with a handful of injuries, would be their best of the season.

Probable Starters

George Hill

George Hill

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Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson

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Paul George

Paul George

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David West

David West

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Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

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Mario Chalmers

Dwayne Wade

LeBron James

Udonis Haslem

Chris Bosh

Injury Update

Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), George Hill (game-time decision, strained right groin), Lance Stephenson (probable, strep throat)
Heat: None

Quotable

"It's important to stand up to a team like Miami. Anytime you play a team that knocked you out of the playoffs the year before, that game feels a little bit different. There's a familiarity that's different. Obviously this team, having won the championship last year, it's all going to feel a little bit different than most regular season games." – Frank Vogel

"I haven’t moved on past that series. I'm still bitter about it and looking forward to try and get back after them (Tuesday) night.” – Frank Vogel

"It’s a huge game. I don’t think we could possibly say that we forgot about what happened last time we played Miami until we play this game tomorrow. It’s definitely a chance to see where we’re at and a chance to get some revenge.” – Paul George

"It’ll be fun. LeBron was someone that I was around this summer and learned a lot of things from... he's a competitor, someone that plays hard on both ends and that’s how I play the game." – Paul George on guarding LeBron

Noteworthy

  • Miami has won the last three games, all coming in last year’s playoffs.
  • The Heat are scoring about 103 points per game but the Pacers are holding opponents under 90 points, on average.
  • The Pacers waived Sam Young Sunday and signed Dominic McGuire to a 10-day contract on Monday.
  • LeBron James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the month of December where he averaged 27.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists, while shooting 55.5 percent from the field.
  • James has scored at least 20 points in every game this season.

Last Meeting

The last time the Pacers faced the Heat, it was in the second round of the 2012 playoffs, when they were ousted in six games. The Pacers went up 2-1, but then Dwyane Wade came alive and led the Heat to three straight victories to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Chris Bosh missed the series with an abdominal strain.

Wade scored 41 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Miami closed out the series in Indianapolis with a 105-93 win in Game 6. LeBron James finished with 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds. They shot 54 percent and only turned the ball over 10 times. Five Pacers scored in double figures, including 24 points from David West and 18 from Hill.

Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)

Ticket Information

The Pacers-Heat matchup starts at 7:00 PM. Buy Tickets »

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