Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat game preview
TV: FOX Sports Sun
Time: Pregame coverage begins at 7:30 p.m.
MIAMI — The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat — two Eastern Conference teams with mediocre records — meet at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena on Saturday night after both franchises decided not to make a trade before Thursday’s deadline.
The Pacers (30-28) held on to star forward Paul George, who can opt out of his contract in July of 2018. They also declined to get any help for their nucleus of George, point guard Jeff Teague and forward Myles Turner.
Teague, who is a free agent after this season, said he is glad George wasn’t moved.
“He’s the reason I wanted to be here,” Teague told the Indianapolis Star. “I can’t see him without a Pacers uniform. I never thought of George not being a Pacer.”
The Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak on Friday night with a 102-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, so perhaps that’s a good start toward determining if standing pat at the deadline was a good move for Indiana.
Teague had a double-double — 10 points and a game-high 10 assists — to lead Indiana in its win over Memphis.
The Heat (26-32) was equally quiet at the deadline, resisting the urge to trade the expiring contracts of valuable assets such as Dion Waiters and/or James Johnson.
Miami made 17 3-pointers on Friday night in a 108-90 road win over the Atlanta Hawks. Miami guard Tyler Johnson came off the bench to score a game-high 23 points, making 9 of 11 shots from the floor, including 3 of 4 on three-pointers.
Waiters, who had 14 points and a game-high 10 assists against Atlanta for his first double-double of the season, said he wasn’t looking to get traded this week but was prepared either way.
“You never know what can happen,” Waiters told The Miami Herald. “I enjoy being with the Heat. My teammates are great, and the chemistry we’ve built — I’m comfortable.
“Once you find comfort somewhere, it makes everything else easier.”
Waiters also said his son loves Miami, which is a factor in wanting to stay with the Heat if all things are equal.
“It’s Miami — why not?” Waiters said. “We’re going to finish out strong and let everything else take care of itself.”
Miami beat the Pacers earlier this season 95-89 on Dec. 14, and the Heat has hit its stride of late, going 15-2 in their past 17 games.
The Pacers, meanwhile, started turning things around soon after losing to Miami, going 14-4 from Dec. 30 to Feb. 6. But then they fell into the six-game losing streak that they snapped on Friday.
In other storylines connected to Saturday’s game:
–George needs 13 points to pass Billy Knight and move into eighth place on the Pacers’ NBA career scoring list.
–Heat guard Josh Richardson (sprained left foot), Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (sprained left wrist) and Pacers forward Lavoy Allen (knee) should all be ready to play Saturday after returning from injury on Friday.
Richardson played on Friday for the first time since Jan. 6. He went scoreless in 13 minutes off the bench, missing all five of his shots.
Young played his first game since Feb. 3. He started and scored 10 points in 26 minutes.
Allen returned after missing three straight games. He had 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.
–Heat backup center Willie Reed has good numbers per 36 minutes: 12.9 points and 11.7 rebounds. Reed, 26, is expected to opt out his contract this summer and should earn his first multi-year deal.
–Al Jefferson is only averaging 8.5 points. But on an average of 36 minutes per game, he would be the team’s second-leading scorer behind George.
–Former Heat forward Chris Bosh, who has been out one calendar year due to blood clots, is expected to officially be released next month.