The Pacers and Heat are about to get awfully familiar with one another. Indiana and Miami will meet in two of their final three seeding games in Orlando and, if the current standings hold, could also square off in a first-round playoff series.
Both teams enter Monday with identical 43-27 records and are tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference, though the Heat have secured the tiebreaker. Philadelphia is just a half-game back, though both the Pacers and Heat own tiebreakers over the Sixers.
The next five days will determine first-round matchups. The two teams that finish fourth and fifth will face each other to open the playoffs, while the team who finishes sixth will face Boston.
The last meeting between the Pacers and the Heat was marked by multiple incidents between Pacers forward T.J. Warren and Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler, culminating in Warren's ejection in the third quarter and some postgame trash talk from Butler.
That budding rivalry is even more intriguing given Warren's red-hot play in Orlando. The sixth-year forward out of NC State is averaging 34.8 points while shooting 60.5 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from 3-point range, and 88.9 percent from the free throw line. He went off again on Saturday against LeBron and the Lakers, scoring 39 points while going 15-for-22 from the field and 5-for-8 from beyond the arc.
Derrick Jones Jr.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG -Victor Oladipo, SF - Aaron Holiday, PF - T.J. Warren, C - Myles Turner
Heat: PG - Goran Dragic, SG - Duncan Robinson, SF - Jimmy Butler, PF - Derrick Jones Jr., C - Bam Adebayo
Pacers: T.J. Warren - questionable (sore right foot), Jeremy Lamb - out (torn ACL, left knee), Domantas Sabonis - out (plantar fasciitis, left foot)
Heat: Jimmy Butler - questionable (sore right foot), Goran Dragic - questionable (left ankle sprain), Kendrick Nunn - out (not with team - self isolating), KZ Okpala - out (personal reasons)
Jan. 8, 2020: The Heat handed the undermanned Pacers a 122-108 loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana was without starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon and lost another starter in a wild third quarter when T.J. Warren was ejected after multiple incidents with Miami's All-Star swingman, Jimmy Butler.
"I just don't think we had enough energy throughout most of the game," Pacers forward Justin Holiday said after the game. "They played very, very well as a team, moved the ball very well, and we didn't...We have to play a full 48 minutes. We have to have a certain energy and a certain assertiveness about ourselves and we didn't have that tonight."
Domantas Sabonis led Indiana with 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 14 rebounds, and six assists in the loss. Justin Holiday added 14 points off the bench, going 5-for-7 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
Bam Adebayo led Miami with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting, nine rebounds, and four assists. Derrick Jones Jr. tallied 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Butler added 14 points, six boards, seven assists, and two steals.
- The Pacers had won four straight games against the Heat prior to this season.
- Doug McDermott played with Butler in Chicago from 2014-17, while T.J. McConnell was Butler's teammate in Philadelphia from 2018-19.
- The Pacers drafted current Heat forward Solomon Hill with the 23rd overall pick in 2013. Hill spent his first three NBA seasons in Indiana.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)