Pacers vs Heat

Game Preview: Pacers vs Heat

Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After dropping a pair of road games by a single point each, the Pacers (0-2) are finally returning to Indianapolis for their first home game of the season. The Blue & Gold are squaring off against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat (1-0) in the newly renovated Gainbridge Fieldhouse. For the first time in over 900 days, Indiana is hosting a "Gold Out" for Opening Night presented by Gainbridge. Every fan in attendance will be given a gold shirt to wear in the stands to create an electric environment for the squad’s home opener.

The Blue & Gold will need all the support they can get as they will be coming into this game with a slight disadvantage. Indiana is playing on the second night of a back-to-back while Miami has played just one game so far. Miami impressed the NBA after steamrolling the 2020-21 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks, 137-95, at home. They held Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

After two games, it seems as if Indiana is firing on all cylinders on offense but needs to improve on defense. The Blue & Gold have posted 70-point first halves in consecutive games, but have also allowed 70 points in a half against the Wizards. The issue arising appears to be the third quarter. The Pacers have been outscored 66-36 in the third quarter this season. The squad's defense will need to be sharp coming out of halftime against an experienced Heat lineup.

Indiana appears to be finding increased production out of its big men this season. In his season opener, Domantas Sabonis posted a monstrous 33-point, 15-rebound double-double. Against Washington, Myles Turner notched a career-high 40 points, 10 boards, and three blocks. The improvement is tied to Rick Carlisle's fast-paced offense, which relies more on the players' intuition rather than calling plays. They will have a tough matchup against P.J. Tucker and Bam Adebayo. The 6-9 center from Kentucky made the 2021 NBA All-Defensive Second Team last year.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Heat: PG - Kyle Lowry, SG - Duncan Robinson, SF - Jimmy Butler, PF - P.J. Tucker, C - Bam Adebayo

Injury Report

Pacers: Caris LeVert – out (sore back), Kelan Martin - out (sore left hamstring), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)

Heat: Dewayne Dedmon - questionable (ight ankle sprain), Kyle Lowry - questionable (left ankle sprain), Victor Oladipo - out (right knee injury recovery)

Last Meeting

March 31, 2021: The Pacers appeared well on their way to sweeping the regular-season series against the Heat last year. However, Miami surged back in the fourth quarter to take away the victory, defeating the Blue & Gold, 92-87, on the road.

Duncan Robinson's back-to-back 3-pointers with 7:44 to play gave Miami its first lead since the first quarter (79-78). The two teams then traded the lead four times over the next two minutes. However, Jimmy Butler knocked in consecutive buckets to create some separation with 4:21. From there, Indiana endured a scoring drought and could not find the shots it needed to pull ahead.

Myles Turner tallied a team-high 15 points, six boards, and three blocks for Indiana. Caris LeVert and Doug McDermott each added 14 apiece. Robinson led all scorers with 20 points and shot 6-of-11 from long range. Butler added 18, while Bam Adebayo notched 16 in the Heat's win.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana's 137 points last season on March 19 were the most scored against the Heat in the history of the series.
  • The Pacers' 137-110 victory last season marked their largest road win at Miami in series history.
  • Indiana is 47-12 all-time at home against Miami in the regular season.

Tickets

The Pacers host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat for Opening Night presented by Gainbridge on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 PM ET. Secure your seats today and help fill Gainbridge Fieldhouse to cheer on your Pacers. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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