Miami Heat (16-5) at Indiana Pacers (18-3)
Finally, the rematch we have all been waiting for.
Through 21 games and a little more than one-quarter of the way into this 2013-14 NBA season, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat meet for the first time. They match up for the first time since Miami ousted Indiana from the Eastern Conference Finals.
As things stand today, the Pacers are two games ahead of the Heat for the East’s top seed. However, there is a long, long way to go. Winning tonight would be a nice boost for Indiana, coming off a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday evening.
If you follow the NBA, you know what kind of a threat Miami is. They behold the best player in the world in LeBron James. The Heat have built – or bought – around him with All-Stars Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen. Together they have won three consecutive Eastern Conference titles and two straight NBA Finals.
It seems the only team standing in their way is the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers gave Miami fits two years ago in the East semis. Indiana then wrecked havoc on the Heat in last season’s East finals. Head coach Frank Vogel has his players more focused than ever and poised to dethrone the Miami Heat.
Many people believe Indiana has the best chance of beating Miami in the playoffs.
That makes tonight’s game all the more intriguing for fans across the country. It should provide the blue and gold a good idea as to how well they are really playing this early in the season. Indiana has the best record in the league and will look to improve on their 18 wins tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
Slowing LeBron James is the first priority. Next is closing out on the three-point attempts that Miami will hoist. Lastly, win the battle in the paint and control the rebound. These three keys to the game should give Indiana a victory.
Roy Hibbert and David West must cause fits down low against the undersized Miami frontline. George Hill and Lance Stephenson must also step up as the Pacers cannot rely solely on the offense of Paul George. If the bench is to prove anything, tonight would be a great time for that.
Indiana needs to re-identify their defensive prowess. I think they do that and win 94-85.