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Preview: Reeling Heat face George, Pacers

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Paul George is expected to make his season debut tonight.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A three-game losing streak has sent the Miami Heat tumbling in the Eastern Conference race. Miami is now in ninth place, a half-game behind the Boston Celtics for the final playoff seed. The Heat are also just a game up on the 10th-place Indiana Pacers.

And tonight will mark the return of Paul George since he broke his right leg during a Team USA blue-and-white scrimmage in Las Vegas over the summer.

Now, George will probably not be at his All-Star self tonight. In fact, he'll probably only play 10 to 15 minutes.

But still, this Heat team has no excuses. Even with the possibility of not having Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen.

The Heat held a nine-point lead over the Detroit Pistons with two minutes left, but the Pistons ended the game on a 10-0 run. These are the types of games Heat players will be kicking themselves for if they find themselves watching the playoffs at home. To increase the stakes, the Pacers lead the season series over the Heat 2-1. Indiana can wrap up the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win tonight.

Even if the Heat have to trot of Udonis Haslem and Michael Beasley as centers, the Heat simply need a win tonight. With the season winding down, this game could determine if other teams are going to put the Heat out of their misery of a season, or if this team has some fight in them.