Tonight, the HEAT will play a less-than-gracious host to the Eastern Conference leading Indiana Pacers at the AmericanAirlines Arena in South Florida.
It will be the second of four contests between the two teams this season. Indiana won at home, 90-84 last Tuesday. They will face off again on March 26th in Indiana and on April 11th in Miami.
The HEAT are in the third game of a five-game homestand. They started out by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers, 114-107 on Saturday and made light work of the Utah Jazz, 117-94 on Monday night. After the matchup tonight, they'll stay on to play the Sacramento Kings on Friday and the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.
The Pacers just finished up a three-game homestand, defeating the HEAT 90-84 last Tuesday and the Charlotte Bobcats 99-94 on Friday before dropping a contest to the surprising Detroit Pistons, 101-96 on Monday. After tonight's brief one-game roadtrip, they'll return to Indiana to host the Houston Rockets on Friday and the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
These two last faced off eight days ago in Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting with five rebounds, Paul George and David West each pitched in with 17 points, and Lance Stephenson scored a dozen with six boards and five helpers in the 90-84 Pacers win. For the HEAT, LeBron James scored 17 points with 14 rebounds and six assists, Dwyane Wade pitched in for 17, six assists, six rebounds and three steals, and Chris Bosh scored 12.
The King later talked about Paul George: "The biggest difference in Paul [George] I think is confidence. He has the confidence of being the go-to-guy, knowing that he's the guy that has to go out and do it every night."
Speaking of the MVP, the biggest question today is how his ankle responded to treatment and rest yesterday as he was held out of Tuesday's Heat practice.
LeBron after practice: "It's about the same. I've had my fair share of ankle twists. I already knew what it was going to be today: very stiff and very sore. It's going to be around the clock treatment."
Here he is relaxing between treatments and enjoying the December weather in Miami.
LeBron and Norris Cole are the only Heat players to have played in every game this season. His status for tonight's game will be determined today so make sure to keep checking HHH for the latest on his ankle injury.
Heat Nation would love to see Greg Oden out there tonight but that still remains a long shot. It also remains to be seen whether Michael Beasley will miss his sixth straight game due to his hamstring injury.
The visitors are not reporting any injuries to their roster except for Danny Granger who is still out with a calf injury.
For more on the Pacers, check out Indy Cornrows.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00pm and the game will be aired on Sun Sports.
(Additional reporting by Surya Fernandez)