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Game Preview: Pacers at Heat

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After a rare five-day hiatus, the Pacers (13-18) are back in action Tuesday night as they take a trip to South Beach to battle against the Miami Heat (18-13) inside FTX Arena. This will be the third time the squads have met up this season, with the teams splitting the first two matchups.

After a grueling first third of the NBA season, the Blue & Gold finally earned some much-needed time off. The break allowed the group to recover from some of the bumps and bruises suffered in previous games. This is especially true for Indiana's leading scorer, Malcolm Brogdon (19.7 points, 6.2 assists per game). The veteran guard sat out of last Thursday's victory over the Detroit Pistons with a sore right Achilles. It also allowed Domantas Sabonis (18.3 points, 11.8 rebounds per game) to conserve energy before facing a physical Heat frontcourt.

Meanwhile, Miami has been attempting to fight through some injuries to stay on track in the Eastern Conference. The squad concluded a four-game road trip Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons. However, with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin, and Markieff Morris all sidelined due to various health reasons, the squad gave the Pistons just their fifth win of the season, 100-90. To make matters worse, starting forward P.J. Tucker suffered a knee injury in the loss and exited the game early. His status for Tuesday night remains unclear.

It would be tough to argue against the idea that Indiana has a clear advantage heading into this matchup. The Pacers will also get a motivational boost on the sidelines as Rick Carlisle will resume head coaching duties after exiting health and safety protocols over the weekend. Indiana fans should expect to see a re-energized Pacers squad that aims to put together a solid winning streak as the halfway mark of the season looms in the distance.

Projected Starters

Malcolm Brogdon

Malcolm Brogdon

Caris LeVert

Caris LeVert

Justin Holiday

Justin Holiday

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis

Myles Turner

Myles Turner

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry

Gabe Vincent

Gabe Vincent

Duncan Robinson

Duncan Robinson

KZ Okpala

KZ Okpala

Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon

Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Caris LeVert, SF - Justin Holiday, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Heat: PG - Kyle Lowry, SG - Gabe Vincent, SF - Duncan Robinson, PF - KZ Okpala, C - Dewayne Dedmon

Injury Report

Pacers: T.J. McConnell - out (sore right wrist), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)

Pistons: Tyler Herro – questionable (right quad contusion), Bam Adebayo – out (right thumb UCL construction), Jimmy Butler – out (tailbone contusion), Caleb Martin – out (health and safety protocols), Markieff Morris – out (whiplash), Victor Oladipo – out (right knee injury recovery), P.J. Tucker - out (left lower leg nerve inflammation)

Last Meeting

Dec. 3, 2021: In a battle between undermanned squads, the Heat picked up a 113-104 win over the Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. It was the fourth straight loss for the Blue & Gold, who played without T.J. McConnell and Justin Holiday.

Meanwhile, the Heat played without All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The trio of Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro did the heavy lifting, combining for 13 threes and 68 points. Caris LeVert had 27 to lead Indiana, while Myles Turner added 20 and three blocks.

The Blue & Gold had a seldom-seen slow first-quarter start as Miami raced out to a 30-17 lead. But Indiana mounted a late 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 32-25 as they entered the second. The Pacers used a solid second quarter to eventually trim the gap to 55-53 on a slam from Domantas Sabonis with 2:22 left in the first half. However, the Heat exited the half with a 62-55 edge after outscoring the Pacers, 7-2, down the stretch.

Indiana got to within three twice in the third. Yet, Miami pulled off another significant run. A three from Robinson capped a 10-2 spree that helped bring a 92-81 advantage over the Blue & Gold into the final frame.

The Pacers gave it one last push around the midway mark in the fourth. Down 108-88 with 5:36 to play, the squad rattled off nine unanswered and had multiple chances to trim the Heat's lead to single digits. But Gabe Vincent's layup with 1:52 remaining crushed any comeback hopes for good.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana is 13-6 this season when they are tied or leading at halftime.
  • The Pacers are averaging seven steals per game against Miami this season.
  • Indiana holds the all-time regular-season series lead, 51-42.

Tickets

The Pacers will host the Houston Rockets in their final game before Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: TNT - Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Stan Van Gundy (analyst), Jared Greenberg (sideline reporter)
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)