NBA Basketball
Scoreboard|Postseason|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions
86
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Indiana 25 17 20 24 86
Miami 23 22 31 22 98
98
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CT22:30 , April 11, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida  Attendance: 20,300

Pacers-Heat Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat

  1. Indiana leads the season series 2-1. However, the Heat have won their last five regular-season home games against the Pacers, including a 97-94 victory on December 18.
  2. Frank Vogel rested all five of his regular starters in Wednesday's two-point win over the Bucks. It was just the fourth different starting lineup the Pacers all season, which is the second fewest in the NBA (Por -- 2).
  3. Miami lost to the Grizzlies on Wednesday despite shooting 60 (15/25) percent from three-point range. It was the first time in franchise history the Heat lost a regular-season game when shooting at least 60 percent from behind the arc (minimum 20 3PA), having won all 12 previous times.
  4. Roy Hibbert is shooting just 33.3 (31/93) percent since March 21, which is the lowest percentage by any player with at least 30 made field goals since that date.
  5. Ray Allen has had at least two three-point field goals off the bench in each of his last seven games. He has 110 threes on the season, the 17th time in his 18 NBA seasons that he has had 100+. The only year he did not have 100 was in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
  6. LeBron James is shooting 59.3 (380/641) percent in home games in 2013-14 and has made 50+ percent of his shot attempts in each of his last seven home contests, which is the longest active streak by any player (minimum 10 FGA in each game).
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

By TIM REYNOLDS

AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI (AP) - For the last six weeks, Indiana and Miami haven't exactly looked like NBA title contenders.

The Heat have lost 11 of their last 21 games.

The Pacers, they've dropped 12 of their last 20.

And both teams are still way ahead of everyone else in the Eastern Conference standings. They'll meet Friday to decide who moves a giant step closer to having the No. 1 seed on their half of the NBA playoff bracket, Indiana (54-25) entering with a half-game lead over Miami (53-25).

"It's going to be intense," Heat forward Chris Bosh said. "It's going to be a hard-fought game. There's something at stake. It'll pretty much be the playoffs and I think it'll be a great atmosphere. ... We expect them at their best. Everybody we play, we expect them at their best because that's what we get."

Neither team will clinch the top seed Friday but the winner gets full control. Indiana would beat Miami in tiebreakers if necessary, so the Pacers would lower their magic number for the East top seed to one with a victory. The Heat would move a half-game ahead if they win, plus could deal Indiana another blow in a wild week.

The Pacers got embarrassed at home by Atlanta on Sunday, which prompted coach Frank Vogel to sit his starting five out of the entirety of Indiana's game Wednesday at Milwaukee. The Pacers' reserves beat the NBA's worst team 104-102, and that combined with Miami's loss at Memphis sent Indiana back atop the East.

"It's huge for us," said Pacers guard Chris Copeland, who hit the game-winner against Milwaukee. "Obviously it gives some of our banged-up starters an opportunity to rest and heal up. It's big for our confidence, for the second unit. This is going to take 15 guys to make a run at this thing."

It's not like either team needs a reason to get up for an Indiana-Miami meeting.

Emotions run high whenever these teams play and the Heat needed seven games to beat Indiana in last year's Eastern Conference finals. Hosting potential Game 7's is a perk that comes with holding the No. 1 seed, though not everyone in this series finds that essential.

"It's a great luxury," Heat forward Shane Battier said. "That's all it is - a luxury. It's not a necessity. You want to be playing well, and you want to be healthy."

And the Heat are not.

Dwyane Wade will miss his ninth straight game with a hamstring injury that started as a cramp late in the last Miami-Indiana matchup March 26. Greg Oden's back spasms have kept him off the floor since that night. Udonis Haslem - vital to Miami's plans for defending Indiana center Roy Hibbert - caught a flu bug, and Chris Andersen has a sore knee.

It's unknown if any of them will play Friday.

"It's not controlling our destiny about the No. 1 seed," Miami star LeBron James said. "We want to get healthy. That's all that we care about, going into the postseason healthy. ... Once everyone comes back, then we can get everything rolling."

The only way Indiana and Miami could play this year after Friday would be in an East finals rematch.

"The way it's set up," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, "I'm sure that's the way people wanted it to be."

Updated April 11, 2014

w3 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.