Heat-Pacers Preview

The Associated Press

The Miami Heat are off to one of the best starts in their history.

A visit to the Indiana Pacers may not slow them down.

The Heat will try to continue their recent mastery of the Pacers, losers of a season-high three straight, on Tuesday night.

Miami (22-7) equaled its best record through 29 games with another decisive win, 114-96 at Milwaukee on Monday. Since dropping the opener of a season-high six-game road trip, the Heat have won three in a row by an average of 18.3 points.

LeBron James matched a season high with 16 field goals made Monday, finishing with 35 points while missing just five shots.

"(We're) just playing good ball," he said. "It's not about one guy. Everyone is in a flow. When we're in a flow, we're a really good team."

Miami won 25 of 32 to start the 2004-05 campaign, and opened 24-7 in 1996-97.

They'll try to get a little closer to those starts against Indiana (17-10), which typically struggled in this series even before James and Chris Bosh joined the Heat prior to last season. The Pacers have dropped seven of eight to the Heat, including a 118-83 drubbing Jan. 4 at American Airlines Arena.

Miami took control of that contest by outscoring Indiana 33-12 in the second quarter, and James finished with 33 points, a season-high 13 assists and eight rebounds.

Now, the Heat will next try to record their fourth straight road win over the Pacers after losing 34 of their first 39 visits to Indiana. Dwyane Wade tied a franchise record by scoring 31 of his 41 points in the first half of a 110-103 win in Indiana last February.

Miami, though, needed a combined 19 points from James and Bosh in the fourth quarter to prevail after blowing a 24-point lead.

The Pacers aren't playing their best as they head into a stretch of three games in three days. Indiana has allowed an average of 102.7 points during its three-game skid - 11.6 more than its previous season average.

The Pacers blew an early 13-point lead Saturday and fell 113-109 to Denver.

"(We have to) focus on the task at hand. That's the only approach you can have to get back on the winning track," coach Frank Vogel said. "You have won game to win and that's the only thing that matters. Nothing in the past matters, nothing in the future matters. We've got to just focus on the task at hand and try to get a W."

Indiana leading scorer Danny Granger had 26 points and shot 10 of 18 in the loss to the Nuggets, but scored only six in last month's loss to Miami while shooting 2 of 13 from the floor.

Pacers forward David West has scored a season-high 22 in each of his last two games but was held to nine in the Jan. 4 defeat.

Wade has topped 40 points in each of his last two visits to Indiana.

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