The Pacers (44-28) will get an early preview of their first-round matchup on Friday afternoon in Orlando when they take on the Miami Heat (44-28) in their final game of the regular season.
The winner of Friday's game will secure the fourth seed in the East and "homecourt advantage" in the best-of-seven series. But since all seven games will be played within the NBA's bubble, having the better seed is less meaningful than in a usual year.
As a result, both teams will likely hold out key players to ensure they are healthy for the playoffs, which are set to begin next week.
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Latest Standings, First-Round Matchups, and More »
Indiana already sat leading scorer T.J. Warren (plantar fasciitis in his right foot) and starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon (sore neck) on Wednesday against James Harden and the Rockets, but the Blue & Gold were still able to find a way to pull out a 108-104 win.
Health notwithstanding, the Pacers could want to get a positive result against the Heat heading into the postseason. While the two teams are tied in the standings, Miami has won all three meetings this season, the last two by a convincing margin. Even if Friday's game turns out to be a showcase of both team's reserves, a Pacers win could give them a nice confidence boost heading into the playoff series.
Derrick Jones Jr.
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Aaron Holiday, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - JaKarr Sampson, C - Goga Bitadze
Heat: PG - Kendrick Nunn, SG - Duncan Robinson, SF - Jae Crowder, PF - Derrick Jones Jr., C - Kelly Olynyk
Pacers: Goga Bitadze - questionable (sore left knee, Jeremy Lamb - out (torn left ACL), Victor Oladipo - out (sore left ankle), Domantas Sabonis - out (left foot plantar fasciitis), Myles Turner - out (right wrist sprain), T.J. Warren - out (right foot plantar fasciitis)
Heat: Jae Crowder - questionable (right knee bruise), Derrick Jones Jr. - questionable (left knee bruise), Bam Adebayo - out (right knee soreness), Jimmy Butler - out (right foot soreness), Goran Dragic - out (left ankle soreness), KZ Okpala - out (personal reasons), Gabe Vincent - out (right shoulder sprain)
Aug. 10, 2020: Miami outscored Indiana 68-44 in the second half on route to a 114-92 victory. The Pacers struggled from the floor all night, converting just 39.3 percent of their shots.
"Just one of those games, unfortunately," Victor Oladipo said after the loss. "We couldn't really get anything going. Just live and you learn. We'll be seeing those guys probably a lot in the next couple weeks, so we've got to be ready."
Oladipo led Indiana with 14 points and five rebounds in the loss. Malcolm Brogdon added 12 points, eight boards, and six assists.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 19 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He went just 5-for-13 from the field, but 9-for-11 from the free throw line. Derrick Jones Jr. added 18 points off the bench on 9-of-11 shooting, while fellow reserve Tyler Herro tallied 17.
- The Pacers had won four straight games against the Heat prior to this season, but have dropped all three meetings with Miami in 2019-20.
- Doug McDermott played with Jimmy 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)
ESPN - Mark Jones (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst), Rachel Nichols (sideline reporter)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 FM/1070 AM The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (studio host)