In order to shake off the stereotype of bandwagon fans that has been attached to the Heat, we decided to give you a quick FYI so you can be ready for tonight’s game.
1. What to Expect
When theyHeat and Pacers Face off, you can count on 3 things: DEFENSE, PHYSICALITY and STAR POWER. Both the Heat and Pacers are formidable defensive teams. Miami relies on speed, quickness and adaptability in order to close out on shooters and get stops leading to their top-notch transition offense. Indiana on the other hand is built like a fort. They rely on bulk, size, weight and length in order to exhaust their opponents. Indiana has a knack for getting under the Heat’s skin by overaggressive fouling or just plain trash talking. The Heat usually responds with more physicality and aids them in bringing more intensity.
2. LeBron’s Status
Lebron might not play, but if he does play he will not be 100% after suffering a mild ankle sprain on Monday night’s game against the Jazz. He is currently listed as Game time decision.
3. Paul George vs Lebron James
Need I say more? Paul George has all the tools to be great. He is an amazing talent, and is on his way up as arguably one of the top three players in the NBA right now. The problem is that tonight, he might be facing the number one player in the league. LeBron James is still reigning and he has a chip on his shoulder from last week’s loss against the Pacers. LeBron took offense to Indiana’s guard Lance Stephenson dunking the ball instead of running the clock out last week when they faced off. LeBron warned Paul George that he will remember that one. See the video by clicking here and skip to the 1:15 mark.
4. Where’s The Love?
The Heat are the back to back defending champions and beating them at any point in the regular season is an accomplishment on its own for most teams. But Indiana doesn’t just want to beat the Heat, they want to intimidate, bully and flat out dominate them. The Pacers are a formidable team and probably the favorites to win it all if Miami wasn’t in their way. They are strong where the Heat are weak and feel like they have been constructed top to bottom to take down the defending champs. Most teams come into the Heat arena to try and make a statement game for their season and wear the win as a badge of how good they can be. Indiana comes in to prove to the rest of the world what they already believe, that they are better than the Heat.
For Miami, it’s always by committee. But the truth is that Dwyane Wade has to play extremely well. If that happens, usually The Heat come out on top. Wade takes pressure of Lebron and with his slashing and penetration, it creates open shots for Miami’s snipers. If they are their usual selves from behind the arc, Miami is nearly unbeatable. For Indiana, its all about how well their big men play especially against the Heat. If they are able to dominate the boards and clog the lane, it’s going to be a tough night for the Heat at home.
TONIGHT: On ESPN PACERS @ HEAT Tip Off 7:00 PM