Beat the Heat: Indiana Pacers host Miami tonight


Trying to recover from the full throttle mess that was the loss to the Warriors, the Indiana Pacers host the Miami Heat in a tight playoff potential battle.

WHO: Indiana Pacers (12-8) v. Miami Heat (12-8)
WHEN: Tonight, 7 pm ET
WHERE: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis, IN)

RADIO: 1070 the Fan

The Pacers
Two potential playoff teams head into Bankers Life tonight, and despite sharing the same record are separated by two spots – things are tight in the east. However, as shown earlier in the season, there is still no love lost between these two teams.

For Indiana, tonight is the first night of a back-to-back (away to Detroit tomorrow) but is just as meaningful as things need to get back on track.

Statistically, the last three games have seen the worst defensive performance under head coach Frank Vogel, allowing over 120 points in each game and going 1-2 in that time. Though offensively Indiana is sound, they need to tweak a few things on the defensive front. After the loss to Golden State, Paul George cited struggling to cover the switch as a problem.

Regardless, the Pacers will need to tighten up if they are to beat their formidable opponents.

The Heat
Miami comes in with a solid record but has lost two straight, and may be without Hassan Whiteside and hometown hero Josh McRoberts tonight in Indy.

Almost unsurprisingly, the Heat have one of the worst offenses in the league, sitting in the bottom four in points per game, 3pt%, and free throws, but in the top five in shooting percentage. Basically, they don’t score much but are one of the better shooting teams inside the arc.

Defensively sound, Miami is in the bottom three in steals per game but rank first in blocks at 7.6 per game, largely due to the contributions of Whiteside. Head coach Erik Spoelstra is a basketball wizard and is keeping his team in the discussion for one of the biggest surprises of the season.

Next: Golden State of Mind: Pacers stomped by Warriors

Indiana needs this win to bounce back off three straight losses, but Miami is in a similar position trying to stifle their two-game skid. Paul George will again be at the center of tonight’s contest, but the familiar duo of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be a tough task.

Tipoff set for 7 pm at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.