NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 8th (All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (23-9) at Indiana Pacers (20-14), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday night with a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference semifinals as they visit the Indiana Pacers.
"It's going to be good for us," said Dwyane Wade. "It's going to be a tough road trip, just like every road trip. We look forward to challenges and this will be a challenge for us. I think it's going to be good for this team."
The Heat have played the fewest road games in the NBA at 13. They are only 7-6 away from South Beach.
The Heat head to Indiana the winners of three of their last four. They hammered the Washington Wizards, 99-71, on Sunday night. Five Heat players scored in double figures, led by, guess who, LeBron James. He went off for 24 points, followed by Ray Allen's 20 and 17 from Chris Bosh.
Miami did Washington in with its defense, something the defending champs are not know for. The Heat held the Wizards to 35.8 percent field-goal shooting and 28.6 percent 3-point shooting.
Miami also outrebounded the Wizards, 50-38.
It was in the second round of last season's playoffs that the Pacers took the Heat to six games before Miami eventually prevailed, then went on to win the NBA Championship.
Tuesday will be the first meeting of the season between the two since the playoffs. It will be a classic defense vs. offense matchup as the Pacers rank second in opponents' scoring (89.8 ppg) and the Heat are fourth in scoring at 102.9 ppg.
Paul George will have the assignment of covering James. For weeks, Pacers coach Frank Vogel, who received a contract extension on Monday, has touted George as the best wing defender in the league. He'll get a chance to show it Tuesday night.
The Pacers come into the contest also winners of three of their last four. They are in a virtual tie with the Chicago Bulls atop the Central Division standings.
On Saturday, the Pacers trounced the Milwaukee Bucks, 95-80. Roy Hibbert led the way with a monster game of 20 points, 15 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards, and five blocked shots.
"His scoring has been sporadic this year but he's probably tried harder than ever to impact the game in other ways," Vogel said of Hibbert on Saturday. "Tonight, it was the offensive glass; it was the defensive glass and all season, he's been exceptional protecting the rim."
George Hill, David West and Lance Stephenson all scored in double-digits and the bench chipped in 33 points.
The Pacers play their next three at home.
In the regular season, the Heat have beaten the Pacers in nine of their last 11. Miami has won four its last five in Indianapolis.
01/08 10:29:49 ET