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Game #52: Indiana Pacers (21-27) vs. Miami Heat (37-14)

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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade greet the fans during their pre-game rituals.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade greet the fans during their pre-game rituals.

The Miami Heat players and coaches have made it very clear that their focus is on winning.  It doesn't matter who they are playing or what kind of implications that outside sources may place on a game, the Heat go into every contest with the same attitude and goal; getting a win.  That being said, a little extra motivation never hurt anyone. 

That much was apparent after Sunday's game against Los Angeles.  The Heat wanted to redeem themselves for the way they played against the Clippers during their first meeting, and they did just that.  Now they get another opportunity for redemption tonight when the Indiana Pacers come to South Beach for the second and final time of the season. 

There are a lot of reasons why Miami has been anxiously waiting to get another crack at Indiana.  The first time these teams met was in late November, back when the Heat was still stumbling their way out of the gate.  It was and possibly still is the worst loss of the season for Miami and a big part of that is because it happened in front of their home fans.

The Heat was held to just 39% shooting from the field that night.  They kept things close, leading 17-11 after the first 9 minutes, but things went seriously downhill after that as the Pacers outscored Miami 43-21 through the rest of the half.  Dwyane Wade went just 1-for-13 from the field in what ended up being the worst shooting night of his career. 

It was a tough night for Miami but they would soon turn things around for the best.  Whether or not you realize it, since the beginning of December there are no teams in the NBA that have been better then the Miami Heat.  They were 10-8 on December 1st, and since then the Heatles have gone 27-6.  Only the San Antonio Spurs, who were 15-2 on December 1st, have put up as good of a record (also 27-6). 

I think we can all agree that Miami's 4-game losing streak in mid-January was largely due to injuries befalling some of their key players.  However, if not for those injuries then the Heat may not be as good and well rounded of a team as they are today.  Erik Spoelstra utilizes a deeper rotation and you see that the players are confident in one another to hit shots and make plays.

GAME NOTES

  • Mario Chalmers needs 2 steals to tie Dan Majerle for 11th on the Heat franchise's all-time list. 
  • Miami committed a season-high 22 turnovers during the first meeting with the Pacers.
  • Indiana is holding opponents to just 44.1% shooting from the field, good for 4th best in the league.  Miami is tied with Chicago for best in the league at 42.5%.  
  • James Jones has 91 triples on the season, just 19 shy of his career-high set in 05-06.
  • Eddie House has scored in double figures in 9 of his last 11 games.  This comes after he scored a total of 2 points over a 21-game span.
  • Udonis Haslem (foot) is out for the Heat.
  • Indiana is listing guard Brandon Rush (ankle) as day-to-day. 

Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30.  The Pacers come in winners of 4 straight and 5 of their last 6, but those wins have come against Toronto, Portland, Cleveland and New Jersey (twice).  If you want to go to the game but don't have tickets, don't forget about Peninsula Is Mightier's partnership with TiqIQ that not only helps you get tickets right here on PIM but they also search through several ticket selling websites and finds you the best deals out there.  Click here to see what's available.