The Miami Heat, who snapped a six-game losing streak on Monday, are set to visit the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Indiana is 2-0 against the Heat this season, and both of those victories were crucial toward what became a Pacers turnaround.
The Pacers had gone through a 2-8 stretch when they shot the proverbial lights out in a 137-110 win at Miami on March 19. Two nights later, the Pacers won at Miami again, this time prevailing in overtime, 109-106.
Those wins started what became a 4-1 Pacers run that was interrupted on Monday night in a 132-124 loss to the Wizards. The Pacers were unable to prevent Washington’s Russell Westbrook from producing his NBA-leading 16th triple-double of the season: 35 points, 21 assists and 14 rebounds.
Indiana was led by Domantas Sabonis, who had 35 points and 11 rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon added 26 points, but he wasn’t happy at all about the loss during which Indiana was outrebounded, 55-37.
“Not good enough,” Brogdon said. “They played harder. They made more shots and got more stops.”
The Pacers, who are just 8-12 at home this season, are hoping to get forward Doug McDermott (right-ankle injury) back after he sat out the Wizards game.
Meanwhile, the Heat — 11-12 on the road this season — are one game ahead of the Pacers as both teams are battling in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Miami players are encouraged following Monday’s 98-88 win over the New York Knicks.
The Heat got 27 points from Jimmy Butler; 20 points and 18 rebounds from Bam Adebayo; 18 points from Tyler Herro; and 14 points from Duncan Robinson. Herro and Robinson each made four 3-pointers, which were vital in a defensive-type game.
In addition, Heat guard Goran Dragic returned after missing four straight games due to back spasms. He had four points in 24 minutes.
“It was a great feeling to win,” Robinson said when asked about breaking the losing streak. “We had been struggling.”
Miami is not yet at full strength. Kendrick Nunn sat out on Monday due to a sprained ankle, but he is on the trip and could play against the Pacers.
Victor Oladipo, acquired by the Heat from Houston on Thursday, missed Monday’s game due to an illness. He is not expected to play against the Pacers. Oladipo starred for the Pacers for three-plus years until getting traded on Jan. 16.
Oladipo is averaging 20.8 points this season. Nunn is averaging 13.5 points.
On the Pacers side, McDermott is averaging 13.4 points, and T.J. Warren, who is out for the season, averaged 19.8 points last season.
So, that’s just about a wash in terms of injured players on each side.
For Wednesday’s game, the Pacers would love to replicate their performance against the Heat in that aforementioned 137-110 win. Indiana shot 58.4 percent from the floor in that game, including 20-for-36 on three-pointers (55.8 percent). Miami shot 44.6 percent overall and 9-for-34 on 3-pointers (26.5 percent).
“We weren’t as active and disruptive as we normally are,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after that deflating defeat. “They were running it down our throats in the first half, so we weren’t able to get our defense set.”
–Field Level Media