A showdown Wednesday between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers might be missing some star power.
Reigning MVP LeBron James said Tuesday he was "very sore and very stiff" after rolling his ankle in Monday's victory over the Utah Jazz. James is questionable for Wednesday's meeting with the Pacers.
James nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists -- all team highs. He also made an efficient 13 of 17 shots from the floor. And all that was in 33 minutes and on a gimpy left ankle that caused him to exit with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
James was able to return in the fourth quarter but had problems with the same ankle in the past.
"They know who they are," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Miami's performance with James on the bench. "If LeBron goes down, those other two guys (Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) are very capable of stepping up. Wade was the guy carrying the load for them tonight, and then Bosh got going. They're a good ballclub. If you make a mistake, they make you pay. And we made too many mistakes in the second half."
The Heat (18-6) is now 4-1 in its past five games and is in second place in the Eastern Conference.
Indiana (20-4), which beat the Heat 90-84 last Tuesday, lost to Detroit Monday night but still has a two-game lead over Miami in the battle for home court throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Wade and coach Erik Spoelstra said too much emphasis is being placed on a regular-season game.
"It's the same as with any one of our games," he said. "It's an opportunity to get better, to take that challenge against a quality opponent."