Who: Indiana Pacers (8-6) and Miami Heat (6-8)
What: The Heat’s Revenge
When: Friday, November 16, 2018, 7:00 EST
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Why: To Avenge the Heat Loss Last Week
Injuries: Derrick Jones Junior (probable with illness), Dwyane Wade (Fatherhood/Hanging Out with Gabrielle Union), Waiters and Johnson Out Indefinitely
Miami’s previous game was a 120-107 win (!) against the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn. Tyler Johnson had a game-high 24, complimented well by 21 from Dragic and 15 from Richardson. Whiteside tallied another double-double (and also had a $50,000 assault rifle stolen, but that’s beside the point). The Heat looked good against a not-so-good Brooklyn Nets team, which is good. The Pacers haven’t played since Sunday, and that game was a 115-103 loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets.
The last time these teams faced off was one week ago, and the season series stands at 1-0 Indiana. The Pacers got the win in Miami 110-102. Oladipo played well, and many key Heat players did not. So, what does Miami need to do to win tonight in Indy?
Obviously, shutting down Victor Oladipo would be nice. If Oladipo gets hot early, he’s dangerous for the whole game. Deny him the ball and force him to work in the isolation, preferably with a larger defender. The Pacers have also seen increased production from third-year big man Domantas Sabonis, so watch for Whiteside to try to make a statement defensively.
The real strength for Indiana comes on the defensive end, where players like Oladipo, Turner, and Sabonis all thrive. Oladipo is fifth in the league in steals, and for a Miami team that struggles with turning the ball over (fourth most turnovers per game-column on that coming soon), Vic and company should have a field day. The Heat’s offensive spacing has lead to an overwhelming amount of turnovers. Coach Spoelstra’s scheme for this year has forced Miami into long, bad passes, and that’s something Indiana will take advantage of. Trying to keep the passes simple will definitely benefit Miami overall, but especially tonight.
The key on offense is to get one player going, no matter who it is, and to limit turnovers. Find the guy on the floor who can knock down big shots. It could potentially be Goran Dragic, who is is matched up an aging Darren Collison tonight. With Dragic getting back to 100% after sitting out with a knee injury and coming off a good night in Brooklyn, he could look to score over 25 for the first time since late October.
Final Score Prediction- 118-105 Indiana
The Heat head home to face LeBron and the Lakers on Sunday. The King’s returns to Miami are always fun to watch.
The Pacers face the young Hawks at home tomorrow on the second night of a back-to-back.
The next time the Heat play the Pacers is February 2, 2019, in Miami.