Heat Check: Miami Beats Indiana in Another Close Contest

No NameAnalyst IFebruary 15, 2011

The "Big Three" for Miami scored 90 of the team's 110 points, as they defeated the Pacers for the second time in a week.

Miami won 110-103 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Led by Dwyane Wade's 41, the Heat were aided with LeBron's 27 and Bosh's 22. Wade (who was listed as "questionable" before the game) also had 12 rebounds for the Heat.

Four other players for Miami combined for the other 20 points.

The loss was just the second one for the Pacers as Frank Vogel's tenure as head coach; both losses were to this same team.

While Indiana may have caught them off guard early in the season when they beat them in Miami, the Heat were prepared for the other two games of the regular season. Both games that the Pacers lost were winnable games, but they couldn't get a stop on defense when it mattered most.

LeBron James carried them in the game last week, and tonight it was clearly Wade muscling the load.

As the Pacers head to Detroit for their last game before the All-Star break, they still have a chance to do something special. With a win, they could be 8-2 under Frank Vogel, with both losses coming at the hands of the Heat in tightly contested games.

Many people have stated that this could be a potential first-round match up come Playoff time; I actually think the Pacers have a better chance playing the Heat than they do the Celtics. The Celtics have a much, much better defense and they are much deeper.

The Heat have three great players, but if one of them goes down with an injury or gets in foul trouble, it can really make them into an average team. If they do happen to match up in the first round, it could be a very exciting series, as the Pacers won the early game by double digits, and the Heat won the other two games by single digits.

Roy Hibbert led the way for Indiana tonight, scoring 18 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Tyler Hansbrough came off the bench to add 16 points, and both Danny Granger and Paul George had 14 points in the loss.

Darren Collison had a rough game going just 1-11 from the floor, finishing with seven points and five assists in 31 minutes. AJ Price came in to relieve him and played well once again, as he posted eight points and five assists in just 17 minutes of play.

While Wade fueled the Heat with 31 points in the first half, the Pacers were able to overcome a 24-point deficit and fight their way back. Unfortunately, they couldn't sustain it for the entire game, and Miami took care of business in the fourth quarter.

The fight and effort that Indiana played with is something we have come accustomed to under Vogel. This team will not give up when they are faced with an uphill battle.

It is encouraging to know that they really can compete with any team in the league.

They have opened eyes around the league, having won seven of their last nine games (both losses to Miami). They look to continue their surge as they head to Detroit to take on the Pistons tomorrow night.

The Pistons are in a battle with the Pacers (among other teams) for the final playoff spot in the East, so a loss could hurt them in that aspect and it could also hurt the morale of this team if they lose their final two games before the All-Star break.

Tip off for tomorrow night's game in Detroit is set for 7:30pm.