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Game #40: Indiana Pacers (14-26) vs. Miami Heat (20-19)

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Michael Beasley is coming off a game in which he matched a career-high with 28 points.  He shot 13-of-22, which were new highs for Beasley as well.  He also finished with 6 boards, 2 assists and a steal.   The kid has been steadily improving all season, and lately things are really looking to be coming together nicely.  Last season he showed us how well he could shoot the ball, but he needed to work on getting to the rim. 

At the beginning of this season we saw Beasley working very hard on getting to the rim; throwing up shot fakes, working on his first step and moving without the ball in order to be in a good position to drive when he received the pass were all things that Beasley has been getting very good at as the weeks have passed.  It didn't take long before he was not only getting to the rim, but finishing as well.  One thing that really helps him is that he is left handed so obviously he is quite good at laying the ball in with the left, although he is more then able to finish with either hand. 

More recently I've noticed him starting to load up the outside jumpers again.  This time however, he also has a full arsenal of moves that allow him to get to the basket.  Suddenly, the one they call ‘Super Cool Beas' is becoming the near impossible to guard stud that Pat Riley envisioned when drafting him 2nd overall two summers ago.  I fully expect the improvements to continue for the rest of this season so by the time the playoffs roll around, who knows what kind of trouble the Heat to start giving opposing defenses.  Oh, and should we play the Hawks again, I'm going to love watching Josh Smith get burned over and over again by Mr. Super Cool. 

Getting back to the task at hand, tonight the Indiana Pacers come to Miami for the third of four meetings between the two teams this season.  Miami is 2-0 against the Pacers this year, winning up there and down here.  Indiana comes into town playing much better then they were the last time they paid us a visit, winning three of their last four games.  In those three wins, the Pacers scored at least 105 points in each. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Pacers are a lowly 4-16 on the road.  None of those 4 wins came against a team with a winning record.
  • The Pacers have given up at least 101 points in 6 consecutive games. 
  • It'll be interesting to see how Michael Beasley comes back after one of his best offensive games.  He shouldn't have a problem moving around the slower Troy Murphy.
  • Jermaine O'Neal has played well against his former team this season, averaging 20.5 ppg on 65% shooting and 9 boards.

The Heat play their first game at home since January 6th, but I still wouldn't expect more then your typical Tuesday night AAA crowd.  If I had to guess, I think that the good Heat team will show up tonight.  I give a pass to the OkC game and I think they return to the form they showed us in Golden State and Houston.