Miami (12-8) at Indiana (12-8)
When: Friday, December 11th 2015
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: ESPN
Two teams struggling on defense meet tonight when the Indiana Pacers host the Miami Heat. The Pacers are coming off a 131-123 loss on Tuesday to Golden State and have now surrendered at least 122 points in their last three games – all losses. Indiana enjoyed an 11-2 November, but have dropped three of the first four in December and now find themselves a game and a half behind Cleveland in the Central Division. Paul George continues to carry this team on offense and has scored 81 points in the last two games to bring his season total average up to 27.9. C.J. Miles, who averages 16.1 points a game, is 14-of-28 from 3-point range in the last three games. The Pacers beat Miami earlier this season on November 6th 90-87. In that game, George erupted for 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. This Indiana team is solid if they can start playing some defense.
The Heat has lost two in a row and were allowing less than 93 points a game until they surrendered 213 in the last two. Miami has wins over Oklahoma City and Cleveland in the last few weeks, but are losing to teams that figure to challenge them in the East like Boston, Detroit, Charlotte, and Washington. They’re just a half game behind the Hornets in the Southeast Division. They were humiliated by Charlotte on Wednesday 99-81. In that game, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade scored a combined 18 points. Luol Deng played for the first time in six games as he was battling hamstring issues. He logged 24 minutes, but managed just 1-for-6 shooting. Miami had won 8 of 10 before their current stretch of losing three of five. Wade struggled in the first meeting with Indiana this year scoring just 9 points on 4-of-15 shooting including 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.
These teams are in similar funks right now, but Indiana is a much better team in my opinion. The Pacers have covered the spread in five straight meetings and six of the last seven.
Pick: Pacers -4.5