The Indiana Pacers will try to build off perhaps their best win of the season when they begin a two-game road trip at Miami on Sunday. After falling behind by 22 points past the midway point of the third quarter, the Pacers put forth a furious rally to steal a 107-100 win from the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
“Tonight, you saw a team didn’t give up,” coach Nate McMillan told reporters. “They came out and battled and flipped the switch on Detroit.” The comeback avenged one of Indiana’s earlier losses and the team has a chance to do the same against the Heat, who picked up their first win of the season at home against the Pacers on Oct. 21. Goran Dragic, who had 23 points in that initial meeting, was held to six on 3-of-11 shooting Friday at Washington but was part of a defensive effort that lifted Miami to a 91-88 victory in the back half of a home-and-home set. Center Hassan Whiteside was absent against Indiana last month but enters the rematch on a roll with four double-doubles in the last five games.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, FS Indiana, FS Sun (Miami)
ABOUT THE PACERS (8-8): Lance Stephenson scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter Friday and chipped in eight rebounds and two assists in 18 quality minutes. “Rebounding and defense got me going, and the crowd got me going,” Stephenson told reporters. “Once everybody got involved and the crowd started chanting, that energy sparked the whole building.” Leading scorer Victor Oladipo had a rough shooting night by going 6-for-19 but made up for it with a career-high 15 rebounds as Indiana won the battle of the boards for just the second time in its last eight games.
ABOUT THE HEAT (7-8): Miami nearly coughed up a 25-point lead in Friday’s win but coach Erik Spoelstra and some of his players said that they never felt as if their execution was lacking. “We had a game plan today and I felt like out of all the games we played so far we executed the most on the offensive end, defensive end, halfcourt sets,” forward James Johnson told the media after scoring 20 points off the bench. “We were together the whole game.” Swingman Justise Winslow had 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals in just 18 minutes, but his limited playing time was a reflection of a quick hook by Spoelstra following some defensive lapses, prompting Winslow to say: “I’ve got to do a better job of being ready.”
1. Pacers PG Darren Collison is averaging 23 points while shooting 14-for-23 over the last two games.
2. Heat SG Dion Waiters made multiple 3-pointers in six consecutive contests.
3. Miami won six straight meetings at home.
PREDICTION: Heat 104, Pacers 102