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Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers prediction & match preview - March 31st, 2021 | NBA Season 2020-21

Miami Heat leader Jimmy Butler and teammate KZ Okpala
Miami Heat leader Jimmy Butler and teammate KZ Okpala
ANALYST
Modified 31 Mar 2021
Preview

Two sides, only a game apart from one another in the East, matchup on Wednesday night as the Indiana Pacers host the Miami Heat. Holding the Knicks to under 90 points on Monday helped the Heat to only their 4th win in 10 fixtures while the Pacers lacked any defense in their 132-124 loss to the Wizards.

Match details

Fixture: Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers | NBA Season 2020-21.

Date & Time: Wednesday, March 31st, 2021; 7:00 PM ET (Thursday, April 1st; 5:30 AM IST).

Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana, IN

Miami Heat Preview

What has been a topsy-turvy season for the Miami Heat could be trending in the right direction with the acquisition of Victor Oladipo at the trade deadline.

The fact that they were able to keep a hold of franchise stars Butler, Adebayo, Herro and Robinson in the process was evidence of yet another great piece of business by Pat Riley.

Adding Oladipo to that plethora of talent, as well as veteran Trevor Ariza, puts the Miami Heat into title contention once again in the East, considering they are arguably stronger now than they were in last season's playoffs.

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Despite winning only 4 of their previous ten matchups, the Miami Heat have solidified on defense, bringing their efficiency up to sixth in the NBA. They are only one game behind Charlotte in the East's fourth seed.

Key Player - Bam Adebayo

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo

While Victor Oladipo's arrival will be pivotal to the Miami Heat's run-in, center Bam Adebayo has been the franchise's go-to guy this season, playing 41 games and averaging a career-high 19.4 points in the process.

His offensive rating of 121 has contributed to a win share of 5.9 and has vastly improved his free-throw game, scoring 83.6% of efforts.

Over the last 5 games, in which the Miami Heat have lost on four occasions, Adebayo has led by example. He averaged superior points per game to all of his teammates, had 2.2 blocks on average and had the second-highest +/- of any starter with 4.6.

Miami Heat Predicted Lineups

Point Guard - Goran Dragic | Shooting Guard - Duncan Robinson | Small Forward - Trevor Ariza | Power Forward - Jimmy Butler | Center - Bam Adebayo

Indiana Pacers Preview

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Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner

The last time these two sides met in Miami, the Indiana Pacers ground out a 109-106 victory the day after a 137-110 win. Since then, they have won 2 games from four fixtures, losing to the Bucks and Wizards on the road.

Dropping to a 21-24 record, the Indiana Pacers have struggled for consistency this season. While they have a broad depth of talent, they have not been able to string together a meaningful run of performances.

Despite that, the Indiana Pacers are coming off a tough run of fixtures and now face three teams on similar records to their own, with three losing ones in their next 6 matchups.

Fans will be hoping they can use Wednesday night to kickstart their campaign and push their way into the closely matched top-8 seeds in the East.

Key Player - Domantas Sabonis

Few expected to see what Domantas Sabonis has produced on regular occasions for the Indiana Pacers this season. The power forward has put up some monstrous displays, willing his side through games and has recorded 34 double-doubles in 45 matchups.

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His 35 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists on Monday night were a prime example of his importance across the board to the Indiana Pacers' success. Prior to this campaign, Sabonis had recorded just two 30+ point games in his career in the NBA, yet has already put up 5 this year to date.

Indiana Pacers Predicted Lineups

Point Guard - Malcolm Brogdon | Shooting Guard - Caris LaVert | Small Forward - Justin Holiday | Power Forward - Domantas Sabonis | Center - Myles Turner

Heat vs Pacers Match Prediction

Fans should expect to see another exciting fixture between these two Eastern Conference rivals. Unfortunately for Miami Heat fans, Victor Oladipo is not expected to be in the lineup for Wednesday night.

As a result, they will be relying on their defense after scoring less than 111 points on the Indiana Pacers in their last two meetings. With superior scoring options and home court advantage, the Indiana Pacers should take this one.

Where to watch the Heat vs Pacers matchup?

Local coverage of the game will be shown on Bally Sports Sun and Bally Sports Indiana. Otherwise, fans can stream the matchup live with an NBA League Pass.

Published 31 Mar 2021, 04:24 IST
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