The Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat will clash on Monday night at 8 pm EST at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. The Pacers continue to make up some ground within the playoff picture as they have not only won four of five since the restart, but have now found themselves at the cusp of taking over fourth place within the Eastern Conference. The Heat are attempting to prevent a three-game losing skid after some horrible defensive performances in games versus the Milwaukee Bucksand, most recently, the surging Phoenix Suns. The Pacers were not able to pick up wins in either of their two matchups versus Miami this season, however, have won three of their last five matchups, overall.
Shorthanded Heat on a downward slideAfter going up by as many as nineteen points versus the Bucks, the Heat, already shorthanded from the loss of Jimmy Butler, were blitzed in the second half while allowing 53% shooting to Milwaukee in a heartbreaking defeat. The Butler-less Heat also opened their mathup with the Suns with an early seven point lead before becoming a victim of yet another shooting performance from guard Devin Booker, who ended with thirty-five points in the nine point win. Important to note that not only is Butler questionable with a foot injury for this contest, but guard Goran Dragicis also questionable with an ankle injury.
If they are not able to suit up, expect Miami to suffer on both ends of the floor, particuarly versus an Indiana team that is very accurate from the floor as well as from three-point range. However, the Heat are beginning to get huge contributions from guards Duncan Robinson along with Tyler Herro, who each posted twenty five points in their loss to the Suns while combining for forty-one points in the loss versus the Bucks the game prior. Duncan is shooting 47% from the floor along with 44% from long-range on the season while the Heat is ranked 1st in the NBA in shooting from three-point range. On the other hand, the Pacers are one of the most stingiest teams in the NBA as it relates to perimeter shooting as they allow just 34% shooting from long-range, good for 5th place.
Pacers playing outstanding on both endsDespite being owned by Phoenix in their prior matchup, the fact is that the Pacers have really been playing great, particularly on the defensive end of the floor where they are ranked in the top ten in points allowed per game (108 ppg), field goal percentage (44%), along with three-point percentage (34%). Even their offense, despite ranking 15th in the NBA in points scored per game (110 ppg), the team is 1st in field goal percentage at just under 48% from the floor in 2020. Indiana held the Lakers to just 42% shooting (33% 3FG) while forcing a total of fifteen turnovers in their most recent five point win on Saturday night.
Important to note that the Pacers continue to be efficient without the services of their power forward Domantas Sabonis(19 ppg, 12 rebs), who is out indefinitely due to a foot injury. To make up for the loss, Indiana has gotten big performances from forward T.J. Warren(20 ppg), center Myles Turner (12 ppg), guard Victor Oladipo (15 ppg), along with guard Malcolm Brogdan (17 ppg). In fact, the Pacers were paced by Warren versus Los Angeles as he posted thirty nine points while stretching the defense to connect on five treys. Oladipo along with Brogdan combined for forty six points while going a combined 6-10 from long-range. Yet, like the Pacers, the Heat (despite being shorthanded) are aggressive in guarding the periemeter as the team is ranked 7th in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage (44%) as well as opponent three-point percentage (34%).
Stats & Trends
- Pacers are 10-3 in last 13 games
- Pacers are 6-1-1 ATS in last 8 games
- Heat are 2-5 in last 7 games
- Heat are 3-6 ATS in last 9 games
- Heat are 2-3 in last 5 meetings versus Pacers
The Pacers have the Heat exactly where they want them. The Heat continue to suffer from injuries while the team has also suffered on the offensive end with the loss of Butler. With this in mind, expect the defensive minded Pacers to apply pressure on this end of the court. With Dragic also questionable the Heat will have to rely yet again on their young backcourt of Robinson along with Herro. With the Pacers guarding the perimeter well at this point, expect Oladipo and Brogdan to really show and prove versus Miami's guards. Again, the Pacers have done very well against the number lately and I expect them to be motivated to cover in this matchup as well. Besides, a win can likely propel them past the Heat to take over 4th place within the East.