The Miami Heat (24-26) welcome the Indiana Pacers (32-19) to the AmericanAirlines Arena tonight, looking to avoid a run of three straight defeats.
After last night’s 102-118 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami now faces the possibility of dropping all three games on their homestand. However, they have an opportunity to avoid doing so as they take on a Pacers team who have struggled to work things out of late.
Indiana is currently occupying the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and despite a strong December, they were very up and down over January which ended in them dropping four straight. The Pacers’ last win came against the Toronto Raptors back on January 24, although they beat arguably the best team in the east - it came at a significant cost.
All-Star Victor Oladipo has been a massive factor as to why the Pacers are once again in the playoff mix, however, during the game against the Raptors, Oladipo went down with a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee which effectively ended his season.
The Pacers come into the game with a 14-12 winning road record but have failed to win on their travels in the last three attempts. They have also sunk from a top-five defensive rating team to a bottom six team during their 4 game slide. A recent loss to the Washington Wizards also highlighted just how much this team has been struggling, Indiana registered just 89 points on the game which set a new season low as they were blown out in the capital city.
This is effectively a must-win game for the Heat, who after the game will head out on the road for a very testing six-game road trip starting in Portland on Wednesday. Momentum will be massive as the team faces some fierce competition over the next few weeks, so a game against a struggling Indiana team could provide a big boost for Erik Spoelstra’s Heat - who desperately need a win themselves.
Heat: Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Hassan Whiteside
Indiana: Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner
Heat: Goran Dragic (Knee) - Out, Derrick Jones Jr. (Knee) - Out
Indiana: Doug McDermott (Bruised Ribs) - Doubtful, Victor Oladipo (Knee) - Out
TV: FOX Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty, Jason Jackson)
Radio: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Mike Inglis)
Spanish Radio: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)
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