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Danny

HEAT at Pacers Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Ron Hoskins)

The Miami HEAT kick off the month of February against the Indiana Pacers on the third game of a four game road trip. The HEAT (29-13) lead the Eastern Conference while the Pacers (27-19) are currently fifth. Tip off is set for 7 PM; coverage on Sun Sports starts at 6:30 PM.

1: Paul George is an All-Star. Is he an All-Star?

Couper Moorhead: His efficiency leaves a little to be desired with a true-shooting percentage right at the league average (.530) but George has had to shoulder much of Indiana’s offensive load with Roy Hibbert struggling from the field and Danny Granger injured – so in that sense a league-average efficiency is impressive for such a young player. George finds ways to create shots, he makes quick decisions, and even though he has to work at times to even take some bad shots to ensure the team gets a shot off, George still finds the energy to be a strong defensive player. He’s an All-Star through and through, and will only get better.

Danny Martinez: I’m on board with it. George can be slotted into the backup shooting guard role even though he’s been playing small forward this season. George has to do a lot of the Indiana offense while also being the defensive wing stopper. He stuffs the stat sheet with points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. I have a hard time coming up with any wings that deserve the spot over him. I suspect this is the last time we’ll have even a little sense of doubt when it comes to this question.

2: Which big defends Miami better, Brook Lopez or Roy Hibbert?

Couper: Neither has had a ton of success, with Hibbert’s sit-back style of pick-and-roll defense eventually hurting Indiana in the playoffs and Lopez struggling to keep up with Miami’s playmakers during the regular season, but when it comes down to simply contesting shots at the rim Hibbert – an anchor for the league’s best defense – gets the nod by a country mile. Some of that might be because the Pacers put less pressure on Hibbert because of the quality of that team’s defenders, but Hibbert still turns more potential layups into floaters than Lopez. When it comes to this postseason, how these two defend will be a major factor.

Danny: Based on what we’ve seen since May, I think the easy answer is Hibbert. Both play a similar style, sagging into the paint on pick-and-rolls, but Hibbert seems to cause more of a disruption. It took the HEAT a few games to figure him out in the postseason, whereas the HEAT haven’t had any trouble scoring on Brooklyn this season. Some of that is due to teammates, but I think Hibbert has a better understanding of how to operate despite his lack of lateral quickness. To be fair to Lopez, he hasn’t been able to play much the last couple of seasons. It’s possible that this time next year that he’ll be much better.

3: How is Danny Granger going to affect Indiana when he return, and how would he affect a Miami-Indiana playoff series?

Couper: This is one of the most important questions in the league, behind Derrick Rose’s prospective return, now that we know what Memphis has done with Rudy Gay. It makes sense that Granger will add some necessary shot creation to an offense that needs it, but how it affects George’s performance will be the real thing to watch. In all likelihood Granger returns and this team doesn’t skip a beat, but there’s nothing that guarantees a perfect dynamic. Either way, the Pacers will need a shot creator over the course of a seven-game series, but given the way Granger has played the last two years, even if he gets back to 100 percent health he might not be able to create the shots Indiana needs to supplement the rest of the team.

Danny: Space is probably the most precious commodity for an offense. Without Granger, Indiana isn’t very proficient beyond the arc. When they slot him at small forward or power forward, he’ll open the floor up for David West, Roy Hibbert, Paul George and George Hill. The Pacers have the second worst offense in the NBA this season after having the seventh best offense last season. Granger’s absence doesn’t explain the entire drop off, but it’s played a huge part. Indiana’s defense has been out of this world the first half of the season. If Granger comes back and opens up the offense, Indiana becomes very, very dangerous.

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Are we wearing these tonight?? Looks fake lol.

Does this look fake?

@MickyArison: New jerseys 2night! http://t.co/xfL29To4  Watch the HEAT in their Hardwood Classics as they play the Pacers. Game at 7 on @SunSportsHEAT.

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These retro jerseys are MUCH better than the "Floridians" ones we wore last year. I actually wanna get myself one of those, they look awesome.

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Going to need full effort if we're gonna win tonight. I think Indiana has won something like 12 games in a row at home. Those retros are sick btw.

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I agree. These throwback uni's are dope.

Brings back fond memories of Hardaway, Mashburn, Zo and the gang.

Let's get it! If there's anyone I hate losing to, it's the Pacers!

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These retro jerseys are MUCH better than the "Floridians" ones we wore last year. I actually wanna get myself one of those, they look awesome.

They got 'em on the website under "Hardwood Classic".... I'm thinking about ordering as well.... They only got Lebron and D-Wade tho....

p13692668dt.jpgp13692688dt.jpg

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Yo if anyone wants to chat it up I will be in the chat till the game starts!

edit: Bron Bron got East Player of the Month again!

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Not liking the team defense right now. I'm hoping they can step it up in the 2nd half. Go Heat!!

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I hate the inconsistent play. This team can't play with any consistency on defense... When are we gonna get it together and go on a big winning streak? Good habits are developed in the regular season... Tired of this season, it has just sucked

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Spo put the Birdman in for Haslem... UD looks so bad in the court, its annoying

West making Haslem look stupid and Spo not making any adjustments.

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When will you people understand that Haslem is old and trash? Why does this idiot coach give him so many minutes? And why does he put Battier to guard David West... Battier is a ***ing small forward lmao, he can't guard a power forward

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Birdman had a 3 point play and was affecting their shots earlier in the game... Why isn't he back in? West and Hibbert are killing us... Heat worst rebounding team in the league

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Pacers own us. We can't score inside and they score on us like nothing inside. Bad matchup.

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    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
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