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Indiana Pacers Visit Miami Heat: Game 40 Preview

The Heat try to keep pace with the Bulls and the Thunder, while the Pacers try to keep the Heat on Miami, tonight at the AA Arena.

The Miami Heat welcome the Indiana Pacers to the American Airlines Arena in South Florida tonight. Miami will be playing in the final game of a three game homestand. They defeated the New Jersey Nets 108-78 on Tuesday and the Atlanta Hawks 89-86 on Wednesday. After tonight's game, they head back out on the road for three games, against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. The Heat are 17-2 at home, while the Pacers are 12-9 on the road.

The Pacers are opening a difficult two game Florida trip. They will face the Magic tomorrow night before returning home for two games. This is the third of four matchups between the Eastern Conference rivals this season, with Miami earning two victories.

The two haven't faced each other since a 105-90 Heat victory on Valentine's Day. LeBron James led Miami with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Norris Cole added 20 off the bench on eight-of-12 shooting. David West led six Pacers in double figures with 14 points. The game marked the first time in 40 years that a team had won back-to-back-to-back road games. Erik Spoelstra spoke afterward,

"Our guys wanted this challenge and we were well aware it had not been done in 40 years, to go back-to-back to-back on the road, be able to stay focused. We threw out anything we could have used as a crutch."

Miami vs Indiana NBA Highlights 02/14/2012 (via bballfansite)

Miami defeated the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday without the benefit of having made a single three-point shot in the game. Miami attempted 10, but took down the Hawks with solid inside play. LeBron James scored 31 with 11 rebounds for the Heat in the win. Dwyane Wade pitched in with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The Hawks counted on Josh Smith to keep them competitve, he scored 23 points and grabbed six rebounds. Zaza Pachulia just missed a double double with nine points and 10 rebounds. Spolstra spoke later about Miami's "ugly" win,

"That was ugly for awhile. We certainly weren't in a great flow offensively. We missed a lot of open shots, missed some good opportunities and got stagnant a little bit. We were able to push through, grind out the game and make some finishing plays on both ends going down the stretch."

NBA CIRCLE - Atlanta Hawks Vs Miami Heat Highlights March 07, 2012 Game Recap (via NEWNBACIRCLE)

The Pacers lost a home game to the Hawks 101-96 on Tuesday. David West led Indiana with 24 on 10-of-13 shooting in a losing effort. Danny Granger added 19. Josh Smith score 27 points with nine rebounds to pace Atlanta, and Zaza Pachulia scored 12 with 10 rebounds. West talked about the Hawks after the game,

"They kept us off balance with good ball movement and we couldn't seem adjust to their schemes. We just weren't able to figure them out in time to stop them. They made a lot of second shots and you can't give those kinds of shots and win games. These are both contenders and teams that we could meet later. So we've got to improve on these, pack it up and move on to the next game."

Atlanta vs Indiana NBA Highlights 03/06/2012 (via bballfansite)



Miami Heat: 30-9, first Southeast Division, second Eastern Conference, third in the NBA, on pace for 51-15, Last five: W-L-L-W-W

Indiana Pacers: 23-14, second Central Division, fifth Eastern Conference, seventh in the NBA, on pace for 41-25, Last five, W-W-W-L-L

Season Series: Miami leads 2-0

All Time Series: Indiana leads 50-36

Game Time: 7:30 ET

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.