Game Preview: Pacers at Heat

Last Updated: Oct. 20 at 10:45 PM

Matchup

After starting off the season with a powerful offensive performance, Indiana faltered in its second game, falling 114-96 to the Portland Trail Blazers.

It would have been a tough game even had the Pacers (1-1) been full strength, but without center Myles Turner — who suffered a concussion in the closing moments of Indiana’s season-opening win — Indiana struggled on the defensive end, allowing 62 points in the first half to Portland.

It is not yet known when Turner will return to action, but he has already been ruled out for Saturday’s meeting with the Heat in Miami (0-1) as he continues to recover from the blow to the head; meaning Indiana will have to shore up its defense in under 24 hours.

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Luckily for the Pacers, opposing center Hassan Whiteside has also been ruled out of the game (left knee contusion), taking away what could have been a damaging mismatch for the Heat.

Without Turner in the frontcourt, Indiana needs a large output from its forwards to fill the void. On Friday, rookie TJ Leaf took a large step in his development, scoring his first points as a pro and finishing the game tied with a team-high 17 points. Leaf was one of the few players who had his outside shot working on Friday, making two of Indiana’s four 3-pointers.

Another area of emphasis for the Pacers on Saturday will be improving their accuracy at the free throw line. Although the Pacers got to the line 33 times, they only hit on 22 of them (66.7 percent).

“Those are points that you’re leaving out there” lamented McMillan after the game. “When you get up there and step up to the free throw line you certainly gotta knock down those shots.”

In Miami, the Pacers will need all the points they can muster in the absence of Turner, needing a win to avoid owning a losing record for the first time this season.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG – Darren Collison, SG – Victor Oladipo, SF – Bojan Bogdanovic, PF – Thaddeus Young, C – Domantas Sabonis
Trail Blazers: PG – Goran Dragic, SG – Dion Waiters, SF – Josh Richardson, PF – Kelly Olynyk, C – Bam Adebayo

Injury Report

Pacers: Glenn Robinson III – out (left ankle surgery rehabilitation), Edmond Sumner – out (left knee surgery rehabilitation), Myles Turner – out (sore neck, concussion)

Heat: Hassan Whiteside – out (left knee contusion), Rodney McGruder – out (left tibia surgery)

Last Meeting

March 12, 2017: Needing a win to keep its foothold in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Indiana topped the Heat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, winning 102-98.

The Pacers led by eight points with under six minutes to play, but the Heat quickly cut the deficit to two thanks to 3-pointers on consecutive possessions from Wayne Ellington and James Johnson. Ellington then hit another three a few possessions later to give Miami a 94-93 lead with 4:02 remaining.

Jeff Teague’s runner with 2:15 to play put Indiana back in front and after Teague unexpectedly swatted away 7-foot center Hassan Whiteside’s shot, Myles Turner knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead to three.

Ellington had an open look from the right wing to tie the game on the next Miami possession, but he missed long and George corralled the rebound. George then dished to Turner on the baseline on the other end. The second-year center missed twice from close range before slamming home a putback dunk with two hands to make it a two-possession game.

“Big play keeping the ball alive, that was the biggest part of it,” Paul George said of Turner’s crucial bucket. “And then him finishing strong, we needed that. That definitely gave us a cushion and that’s what kind of sealed the game tonight.”

Noteworthy

  • The Heat won the season series against the Pacers 2-1 last season
  • Indiana leads the all-time series between the two teams 61-45
  • The home team has won the last 10 meetings between the Pacers and Heat, and 19 of the last 20 dating back to the 2011-2012 season

Tickets

The Pacers return from a three-game road trip to face LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4:30 PM ET Find Tickets »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5 FM/AM 1070 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)

<!–Please Note: Inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers radio broadcasts can be heard on 1080 AM instead of 1070.–><!–

Home Court Gift Shop Game Night Special

Primary Logo Tee – $12. Game Night Specials can be purchased in the Home Court Gift Shop or any of our souvenir stands located on all levels of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The special is also available online at PacersGear.com until midnight.


Construction Note: The city’s department of public works is replacing the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Street from just north of Georgia Street to Bankers Life Court. Portions of the sidewalk may be closed, but pedestrians should still have access to the Pennsylvania Street entrance of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Away Game Night Special

Primary Logo T-Shirt – $12. Game Night Specials can be purchased online the day of each away game from 10:00 AM – Midnight. Order Online »

Coors Cold Hard Fact

Before coming to Indiana, Nate McMillan was the head coach of the Trail Blazers from 2005 to 2012. While there, he climbed to third on the franchise’s all-time wins list and became only the second coach in NBA history to improve a team by nine wins or more in three straight seasons.

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