Here is a look at how the games from late 2014 to 2019 fared.
In the first season without LeBron James, the post-”Big Three” era, the Pacers won three of four matchups between the two teams for the first time since the 2007-08 season, though they had won a series of three games in 2012-13.
A particularly ugly game for the Heat came when the Pacers handled the Heat by 23 points in their last matchup of the season. Luis Scola tore up the Heat in this game, posting 23 points and 12 rebounds in a period where the Heat lost Chris Bosh for the first time due to blood clots, and were starting forward Henry Walker and Luol Deng, who they had signed in the offseason.
However, both the Pacers and the Heat struggled this season, with the Heat going 37-45 and the Pacers going 38-44, with both missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons for the Heat, and the first time in four years for the Pacers. This season was the last that the Pacers missed the playoffs in the decade, having only missed before in 2010.
In 2015-16, a season that saw both teams resurge after disappointing results in 2014-15, the Heat and Pacers fittingly split the season series. In the second loss of the season series for the Heat, guard Monta Ellis and Pacers star Paul George went off for a combined 47 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals. This held off 43 combined points from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, also due in part to 18 points and 12 rebounds from noted Heat killer Ian Mahinmi, who recently went off against the Heat in a disappointing loss to the Wizards in 2020.
The Heat went on to finish 48-34, despite losing Bosh for the season, and his career, due to blood clots. This record was good enough for the third seed in the East, and each of the Heat wins over the Pacers this season were in overtime.
In the game, six different Heat players scored at least ten points, including a 24 point, eight rebound and five assist performance from Goran Dragic, in his first full season with the team. George put up a combined 63 points in the two overtime losses, and a total of 122 points against the Heat in the season.
The Heat would go on to be knocked out of the second round of the playoffs in seven games to the DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry-led Toronto Raptors, the same team that defeated the Pacers in seven games in the first round of the 2016 playoffs.
The Heat’s first season without Dwyane Wade, the team struggled to an 11-30 record at the midway point of the season, but went 30-11 to finish the season, and still finish just shy of the playoffs due to Wade’s new Bulls team, one of the weirder seasons in Heat fan’s memories.
However, the team’s record against the Pacers did not reflect this turnaround, as the team defeated Indiana in its first two games, but lost the third amidst the 30-11 run. In the second win of the season, Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and newly signed Dion Waiters combined for 65 points, while James Johnson finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks off the bench. This win capped a four-game winning streak for the Heat in the all-time series, being the second longest streak of the decade, behind the stretch of games from 2011-12.
In the Heat’s late season loss to the Pacers, George had a 28-point and ten-rebound showing to help outscore the Heat, who saw a nice 5-11 shooting night from deep from Wayne Ellington, though it was not enough to overcome the Pacers. The Pacers went on to finish 42-40, a half-game better than the Heat, and were swept in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Due to the impressive play of Waiters and Johnson from the 2016-17 season that sparked a 30-11 run, Heat president Pat Riley signed the pair to large four-year contracts to help recapture that 30-11 magic. Meanwhile, the Pacers succumbed to the trade requests of longtime franchise star Paul George, who terrorized the Heat for years, and sent him to Oklahoma City to partner with Russell Westbrook, in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
When Indiana made the deal, fans did not expect the trade to be a win-win scenario, and in retrospect, was much better for the Pacers. Indiana also added Darren Collison, Cory Joseph and Bojan Bogdanovic, to a team that had young talent in Myles Turner and a strong forward in Thaddeus Young.
The Heat and Pacers would go on to split the series, but amid the split was a pitiful 25-point loss for the Heat. Bogdanovic and Turner tore up the Heat for a combined 51 points in the contest, and the Heat were only able to muster 95 points, led by Ellington, who had 21 points on 7-12 shooting from downtown.
The Heat went on to a 44-38 record, and at the trade deadline, were reunited with Wade, who they acquired from Cleveland for a distant second round pick. Despite the homecoming, the Heat struggled in the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers, getting knocked out in five games. Meanwhile Victor Oladipo won Most Improved Player, and almost helped the Pacers upset the fourth-seeded Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite Wade being resigned, and having up-and-coming young talent surrounding him, such as Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and Derrick Jones Jr., the Heat struggled in the 2018-19 season. The team did not add any players to the core roster over the 2018 offseason that were new players outside of two-way contract players Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten.
The Pacers swept the series, their first season sweep of the Heat since the 2003-04 season. The team lost Oladipo for the year about midway through the season, but players such as Young and Bogdanovic stepped up to lead the team to a 48-34 record.
In the game that brought the Pacers win streak up to four straight games over the Heat, Bogdanovic scored 31 points on 13-of-19 shooting, while Collison added 20. The Heat got 21 points, six rebounds and four assists from Wade in his final showdown with the Central Division rival.
The Heat went on to a disappointing 39-43 record, failing to reach the playoffs in Wade’s farewell season.
Most recently, the Heat took on the Pacers on December 27th to wrap up a decade of an underrated rivalry. Over the offseason, the Heat added star Jimmy Butler despite having virtually no cap space, through a sign-and-trade that involved Richardson. The Heat also unloaded Whiteside, giving Adebayo the reigns to be the franchise center. The team also added rookies Kendrick Nunn, who was signed on the final day of the 2018-19 season, and Tyler Herro, selected by the Heat at pick 13 in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Heat have surpassed all expectations, now sitting at a 26-10 record, and third place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Pacers also had an impressive offseason, losing Bogdanovic and Young, but adding former Rookie of the Year in Malcolm Brogdon, as well as Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren.
The Pacers are still without star Oladipo, but the team has not missed a beat without him, arriving to a 23-14 record, good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference, and just 3.5 games out of the second seed.
In the first matchup between the two teams for the season, and the last of the 2010’s decade, the Heat broke its losing streak in a one-point win, behind Dragic’s game-winning shot. The Heat also got 20 points from Butler, while the Pacers saw 17 from Aaron Holiday, who started in place of an injured Brogdon.
The two rivals will take the stage again tonight, January 8th, at 7 p.m., and the game will have major implications going forward.