Heat Welcome Pacers to Vice City

Photo per Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Who: Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat (in their Vice City uniforms!!!)

What: A Basketball Game

When: Friday, November 9, 2018, 8PM EST

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

Why: Because the NBA scheduled it that way

Injuries/DNPs: Goran Dragic (knee), Derrick Jones Jr. (bruised right knee), Dwyane Wade (being a father!)

Before:

Miami is coming off two convincing wins against the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs, while the Pacers have dropped two straight to the struggling Houston Rockets and up-and-down Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers stand at 7-5 on the year, while the Heat stand at 5-5.

This is the first time the teams have faced off all season, and the season series last year was even at 2-2. Both of these teams took a first round exit in the playoffs last year. Indiana has added some significant pieces (Tyreke Evans, Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott), while the Heat roster remains intact.

The injuries to Goran Dragic and DJJ, as well as Dwyane Wade’s paternal leave, remove some depth and scoring from Miami’s lineup, so look for Wayne Ellington, Rodney McGruder, and Tyler Johnson to see extended time on the floor.

During:

The match-up to look for tonight, even though they might not be defending each other, is Josh Richardson and Victor Oladipo. I recently wrote about Josh Richardson possibly becoming the NBA’s most improved player (immaculate timing, I know), and he has an opportunity to show out against Oladipo, last year’s winner. Look for Josh Richardson to do some bucket-trading with Vic.

Another player to look at is Hassan Whiteside. Coming off of his best game in a long time, and possibly the best game of his career, Whiteside faces off against Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, a pair of centers with good defensive skill sets. If he can keep it rolling, the Pacers are in trouble and the Heat will probably have a very fun time.

The key to this game, as it is with every game against Indiana, is to contain Victor Oladipo. The guy can play, obviously. If Miami can hold him to about 15-20 points, and turn him into more of a facilitator than a scorer, then the night will be a lot easier for them.

Offensively, limiting turnovers against a solid defensive team like Indiana is a must. They have athletic players at every position who can run in transition, and last year’s league leader in steals, so avoiding careless passes and turnovers is the key to Miami success.

 After:

After the final buzzers sounds tonight, the Heat will take on the woeful Washington Wizards in Miami on Saturday in a back-to-back, at 8PM EST. The Pacers will fly to Houston to take on the Rockets on Sunday at 7PM EST.

Follow us all NBA season for more great Miami Heat content @vaughanjasu and @MiamiSportsWave.

Related:

Miami Sports Wave: Weekend Preview

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