Pacers-Heat Preview


Opponents may have found the Miami Heat's weakness, but the team isn't concerned.

The Heat, though, could have a particularly tough time bouncing back from their first loss if Dwyane Wade is unavailable Wednesday night for a matchup with the visiting Indiana Pacers.

Wade missed Wednesday's shootaround due to a nagging foot injury, and it appears very possible Miami (5-1) will rest him considering this will be the team's fourth game in five nights.

"With D having a foot problem, he has to be cautious about it," LeBron James said. "We'd rather get him as close to 100 percent healthy now than let it linger."

The foot problem originally flared up in a win at Charlotte last Wednesday. Including that game, Wade has averaged just 15.8 points in four contests since getting hurt.

He shot a season-worst 4 of 17 from the field in a 100-92 loss to Atlanta on Monday.

"As much as I want to be out there, my team needs me to be Dwyane Wade and not somebody else on the floor," he said.

Monday's loss saw the Heat leading by 10 early, but they struggled against the Hawks zone defense in the fourth quarter, similar to the way Boston nearly rallied to beat Miami in the second game of the season.

The Heat were outscored 33-21 in the fourth Monday and finished with 10 fast-break points after entering the game averaging 25.4.

"We need to work through it," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Look, we're going to see enough of it that we will have our breakthrough. We hope to have it sooner than later."

James scored 28 points and Chris Bosh added 19 while Wade was held to 12, though he did have 10 assists.

The Pacers (4-1) are off to a quick start as well, but this will be by far their greatest test of the young season. They defeated New Jersey 108-94 on Monday in the second game of a four-game road trip and will close the stretch in Boston on Friday.

Indiana is holding teams to an average of 89.0 points on 40.9 percent shooting while forcing 16.6 turnovers per game, but a bigger concern has been the offense.

The Pacers broke out Monday, reaching 100 points for the first time and shooting 52.6 percent after making below 40 percent in each of the previous four games while averaging 91.8 points.

Paul George went 5 of 5 from 3-point range on his way to 21 points, and Danny Granger added 15. Indiana finished with a season-high 26 assists while going 13 of 21 beyond the arc.

"We had a film session this morning and I pointed out that we needed to move the ball around," coach Frank Vogel said. "I told them that we're next to unbeatable when we share the ball, night in and night out. We shot well because we were sharing the ball. When you share the basketball and play for each other instead of yourself, you can be a pretty good team."

Granger is still struggling to find last season's form when he led the team with 20.5 points per game. He was 4 of 14 from the field against the Nets and is shooting 34.1 percent this season.

Granger has shot 30.6 percent in his last six matchups with the Heat.

James has averaged 33.9 points in his last eight games against Indiana with three 40-point performances.

Miami has won six of seven in the series.

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