Dec 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) both chase a loose ball during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers


Is this the inevitable Eastern Conference Finals? Or will another team like Chicago or Toronto sneak in? The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers have been average compared to the rest of the powerhouses in the league for some time. Paul George has a similar shooting percentage to Ricky Rubio since January 1st. LeBron James has looked somewhat mortal since dropping 61 on the Bobcats. Frank Vogel and Erik Spoelstra are still trying to find out what’s the best rotation going forward, whether that’s playing Evan Turner or Michael Beasely extended minutes. I’m under the impression that whoever loses this game will be talked about more tomorrow morning.

Indiana Pacers Hits

Offensive Rating / Defensive Rating: 101.9 / 95.5

Since the All-Star break, Indiana is 11-8, getting beat by the likes of Memphis, Chicago and New York. Yes, the New York that allowed 51 to the Los Angeles Lakers last night. Its defense has been pretty solid but not as forceful as it was pre-All Star. They’re struggles are also seeping into the locker room. David West doesn’t think Indiana would be the top seed if not for their fast start and Paul George said they’re not having fun out there like they used to. I still think they’re fine. They have another gear they can reach defensively. Roy Hibbert and David West turn into Hakeem Olajuwon and Karl Malone when they face the Heat. It’s okay for now.

Miami Heat Hits

Offensive Rating / Defensive Rating: 109.5 / 103.3

The Heat are 11-7 since the All-Star Break, losing to the Nuggets and Pelicans during that stretch. A nice win over Portland the other day. Ray Allen isn’t playing tonight and this may mean extra minutes for Norris Cole and possibly Toney Douglas at the shooting guard slot. Miami won’t be able to get away with that since Indiana plays big shooting guards.  I’m really interested to see how Miami’s “big” lineup with Bosh and Andersen at the 4 and 5 plays versus Indiana’s mammoths. Miami used it during their first win against Indiana in 2013 to match Indiana’s size and I’m assuming they’ll use it again.

Prediction

Seeing that I picked Miami, I’m sure Paul George and Roy Hibbert will have their best shooting games of the season tonight.

Heat 91, Pacers 86

Tags: Indiana Pacers LeBron James Miami Heat NBA