Last time these two met, the Pacers turned down the Heat in an 88-77 victory. The Heat feature the best offense in the Eastern Conference, averaging nearly 103 points per game, best for fifth in the NBA while the Pacers lead the East in scoring defense (89.9 ppg).
The Pacers have won 12-straight at home, a streak that dates back to Dec. 7, when the Nuggets edged them, 92-89. Indiana has won three-straight regular season meeting with Miami, holding the Heat to under 80 points all three times.
Paul George has been thrust into a starring role for the Pacers thanks to Danny Granger‘s knee injury that’s sidelined him for the season. George does it all for the Pacers, averaging 17.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, all well above his career averages. Tonight will be a good test as to where he’s at when he goes against arguably the best player in the league, LeBron James. He certainly held his own in the first meeting, holding James to 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting while pouring in 29 of his own in the 11-point win.
David West (16.7 PPG) has provided Indiana with another scoring option while also pulling down 7.7 RPG. Indiana, the leading rebounding team in the NBA, also gets 8.3 RPG from big man Roy Hibbert.
Last time they met, the Pacers dominated the boards, 55-36. If Miami expects to snap Indiana’s home win streak, it better put on its big boy shorts and rebound the basketball. That, and it will need to shoot closer to its season average of 48.9 percent rather than the 41.2 percent it was held to in January.
The Heat are in the middle of a four-game road trip having split the first two, while Indiana returned home Wednesday to beat the Pistons following an 0-3 West coast swing.
Indiana hasn’t been kind to Miami recently in the regular season, a trend that should continue if Paul George can stay out of foul trouble and continue to make things uncomfortable for LeBron James.