7:00 PM ET, December 18, 2013
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
It’s been a little over a week since the Indiana Pacers met the Miami Heat last. Tonight the top teams in the Eastern Conference meet again.
YouWager bettors must keep in mind that there’s a strong probability the game’s best player will not be suiting up.
LeBron James might not make it tonight due to a sprained left ankle. The 28 year-old hasn’t missed a game this NBA season.
James suffered the injury earlier this week during the third quarter of a 117-94 victory versus the Utah Jazz. Even while he left the court after rolling his ankle, the four-time MVP did return in the fourth quarter and finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Miami will likely need James — and in top form — if they want to beat the Pacers this time around. Last Tuesday, Indiana protected their home floor and knocked off Miami 90-84 as they held James to 17 points and a season-worst 6 of 16 from the field.
These basketball teams have met in the NBA playoffs each of the past two seasons, with their latest series in the Eastern Conference finals reaching seven games.
The Heat won the deciding contest at home, but a potential Game 7 would come in Indiana this season if the current standings remain the same.
Indiana (20-4) has run out to the best record in the conference, with Miami (18-6) directly on their heels. Online sports betting data shows that no other team in the East is more than a game above .500.
The Pacers may have been peeking ahead to the rematch in Miami in its latest game, falling 101-96 versus the Detroit Pistons on Monday for its first home defeat of the season.
Indiana will be facing what could be a pumped-up, angry Miami team. The Pacers beat the Heat last week and on top of that guard Lance Stephenson added insult to injury with a breakaway dunk in the final seconds — something James wasn’t too happy about.
Miami (18-6) was a season-worst 4 of 21 from 3-point range in the last matchup but are among the best in the league at 38.6 percent. Mario Chalmers is 6 for 8 from behind the 3-point line in two wins since the defeat at Indiana.