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NBA Indiana PacersMiami Heat

How Did Miami Heat Defeat The Indiana Pacers?

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The East Elite

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Eastern Conference is in shambles, but there are two teams that aren’t only the elite of the East, but are the elite of the league. The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are beginning a new rivalry that will go down in basketball history. It all began with the fantastic seven-game series for the Eastern Conference championship and it has continued this season.

The two powerhouses are scheduled to meet four times in the regular season and many have already written in another seven games in the Conference finals. Right now, it seems like these two will meet for the second-straight year to decide the East, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In the first game on Dec. 10, the Pacers got the best of the Heat, 90-84. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all had below-average performances and Miami was beat in many different ways. The second matchup proved to be a different story as the Heat made many corrections and the “Big 3” led the way to an impressive victory.

As the Heat-Chicago Bulls rivalry remains on life support with Derrick Rose’s career, we have been lucky enough to be given a new dual. With players like David West, Paul George and Roy Hibbert, the Pacers are a severe threat to Miami’s three-peat dreams. Not to mention that Danny Granger has yet to play and could bring even more to the table.

Granger is expected to be healthy for the next meeting between Miami and Indiana in March. It’s a long wait to see these two play again, but the wait will be worth it. Miami did five things very well against Indiana Wednesday night and if they can do that to the Pacers again, then write them in for a third-straight ring.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Fast Break

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A main component of Miami is the fast break. They thrive off turnovers and getting out in transition. In the first meeting against the Pacers, the Heat only had 12 fast break points while Indiana had 10. Wednesday night’s victory was a different story with Miami scoring 21 points in transition. They had a big advantage on Indiana’s nine fast break points. I think it’s safe to say that played a role in the Heat's win.

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In order to win, you have to score. In order to score, you must shoot. In order to win and score, you must shoot a high percentage from the field. I feel like Hubie Brown right now. Anyway, Miami shot poorly in the first meeting, losing the field goal percentage battle, 42.9 percent to 50.7. You won’t win a game with that discrepancy.

The two flip-flopped Wednesday night with the Heat shooting 48.1 percent from the field and the Pacers shooting 43.8 percent. The difference was enough to help get the W for Miami.

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Big 3 Production

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The “Big 3” play the biggest role in whether or not Miami wins. As a trio, they are capable of scoring 70 or more points. When they do that, the champs are hard to beat. However, in the first game between the East Elite, Wade, Bosh and James only combined for 46 points.

Wednesday night was completely different with the “Big 3” combining for 71 points, the third-straight game they have combined for 70 or more points (3-0). If Wade, James and Bosh are clicking, good luck beating the Heat.

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This may be where Miami won the game because they actually decided to rebound and box out! In the Dec. 10 game, Miami was beaten badly in the rebounding battle 33-43. Wow, the difference a week can make. Wednesday night, the Heat grabbed 37 rebounds compared to the Pacers' 36 boards. Rebounding will always be a crucial factor between these two teams. Miami will have to continue to improve as they have many more meetings with Indiana.

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Roy Hibbert Foul Trouble

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I was wrong; rebounding isn’t where Miami won the game, getting Roy Hibbert in foul trouble was. This is the most important and biggest game-changer and is the reason behind the Heat's victory.

Hibbert picked up two fouls in the first quarter, his third right before halftime and his fourth and fifth in the beginning of the third quarter. He missed the final 8:33 of the third quarter and did not return until half way through the fourth.

Obviously, this is when Miami grabbed the rebound advantage and was able to close in on the Pacers. The Heat should always go after Hibbert and get him in foul trouble as soon as possible. Without his big body on the court, it frees up the lane for James and Wade, not to mention it helps out Bosh a lot too.

Whenever these two teams meet, always pay attention to Hibbert and his foul situation because he is like Miami’s kryptonite.