Pacers-Heat Preview

The Miami Heat weren’t expected to face many obstacles this
season, but injury problems are the latest source of adversity for
them to overcome.

The Heat will be without Udonis Haslem and could be missing
Dwyane Wade when they host the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

Miami’s three star players have struggled to get in sync in the
early going. The Heat (8-5) haven’t been dominant early on and had
their three-game winning streak snapped in stunning fashion
Saturday, losing 97-95 at Memphis.

Rudy Gay hit a fadeaway jumper over LeBron James at the buzzer
after James tied the game with 5.5 seconds left. Miami went 10 of
22 from 3-point range but got to the free-throw line a season-low
12 times, making nine.

The Heat were missing Wade (sprained left wrist), who was
injured Friday against Charlotte, and lost Haslem in the third
quarter Saturday with what turned out to be a torn ligament in his
left foot. He will be sidelined indefinitely.

The co-captain is averaging 8.0 points and a team-leading 8.2
rebounds, and is a big presence on defense.

“It’s huge,” James said of the injury. “He’s like our heart of
our team. He’s our power. He’s our pride. He brings everything
every night. Size never really matters to him. He always plays
above his height, plays above his weight.”

Wade had an MRI on Sunday. The test showed no serious damage and
he is listed as day-to-day.

It was the first time this season the Heat were without one of
their three stars. James finished with 29 points and 11 assists
while Bosh had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Miami will look to win its fourth straight at home as it tries
to bounce back against Indiana (5-6), which has lost four in a row
and eight of 10 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Pacers have alternated wins and losses over their last six
games. They fell 90-86 to Orlando on Saturday.

Roy Hibbert had 19 points and 10 rebounds and led five Indiana
players who scored in double figures, but the Pacers shot 39.3
percent. That allowed the Magic’s Jameer Nelson to beat them with a
go-ahead three-point play with 33 seconds left.

“We had our opportunities to win,” said guard T.J. Ford, who had
10 points, nine rebounds and five assists. “We are learning more
every day. When teams play us, they have to respect us and know we
will be ready to play. … We must get focused now and get to Miami
and be ready to play Monday.”

Ford started a third straight game in place of Darren Collison,
who sat out with a sprained ankle. Guard Mike Dunleavy returned
after missing the previous game while his wife was in labor and had
10 points and six rebounds.

Indiana is giving up 102.3 points on the road, compared to 95.3
at home.

Miami swept the four meetings with Indiana last season,
averaging 107.0 points. The Heat won the first game in Miami by a
114-80 score Dec. 27 and took the second 113-83 on Jan. 19.

Wade averaged 33.0 points in the series and scored 43 in the
teams’ final matchup April 4, a 105-96 overtime win.

James has averaged 35.6 points in his last five matchups with
the Pacers.