Miami took advantage of a short-handed Indiana team last week. With Dwyane Wade’s status uncertain for Wednesday, the Pacers now have a chance to do the same to the Heat.
The Pacers look to continue their home dominance of the Heat, who may again be without their star guard, when the teams meet at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Wade has reached the 30-point mark in four of his last seven games against Indiana (21-20), but may not get a chance to extend that success against them Wednesday. He’s nursing a sprained left ankle that kept him out of Miami’s 101-83 win over New York on Monday night.
“Hopefully it goes away by Wednesday and I can be there for my team,” said Wade, who leads the Heat (19-22) with 28.2 points per game.
Wade was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to Dallas. He managed to play 44 minutes and score 31 points, but struggled moving to his right and decided against playing on consecutive days.
Gary Payton took Wade’s spot in the starting lineup Monday and had a season-high 13 assists.
Wade scored 33 points, including a game-saving layup with 4.3 seconds left, and added eight assists and six rebounds as the Heat held on to beat the trade-depleted Pacers 104-101 on Thursday night in the teams’ first meeting this season.
Indiana had only 10 players in uniform after acquiring Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod from Golden State for Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Josh Powell and Al Harrington the previous day.
The Pacers defeated Chicago 98-91 on Monday for their first victory in three games since the swap. Indiana, which ended a four-game losing streak, has won eight straight at home against the Heat since an 89-87 loss Dec. 31, 2001.
The defending champion Heat, though, have won six of nine to move within three games of .500 at the halfway point of the regular season.
Despite playing without Wade and Shaquille O’Neal again, Miami scored a franchise-record 27 consecutive points Monday en route to the blowout win.
O’Neal was inactive for the 35th consecutive game. He’s believed to be close to returning from November knee surgery.
“It’s always tough without D-Wade and Shaq, but the NBA’s not going to give us a break,” Heat guard Jason Williams said.
Reserve guard Robert Hite won’t be able to help after being charged with driving under the influence early Sunday in Miami Beach. Hite apologized and is “acutely aware of the seriousness of the incident,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement.
“Robert and I have mutually agreed that he take some time away from the team to try and get his personal issues in order,” Riley said.
Dunleavy and Murphy made solid contributions to the Pacers’ victory over the Bulls. Dunleavy had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Murphy added seven points and eight boards in his first start for Indiana.
The Pacers may be without starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley for the second straight game Wednesday. He missed Monday’s contest with a sore lower back.
Tinsley had been injury-prone in the recent past, but he had started all 40 games for the Pacers this season.
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