• The Best Moments of the Miami Heat/Indiana Pacers Regular Season Meetings
  • Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
  • After playing to a 2-2 draw in their four regular season matchups this season, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers will lock up today in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. There were quite a few moments recent—thanks Pacers—when it looked like this rematch might not come to fruition. But despite the numerous bumps in the road, it’s arrived right just as expected.

    Pacers-Heat is always such an anxiously awaited meeting because the significant contrast in styles brings out the best, and most unexpected, performances out of both teams. The Pacers put a death grip on pace and maximize the plodding Roy Hibbert-David West duo down on the blocks. The Heat, on the other hand, get out in transition, playing “small ball” and spacing the floor with their shooters. They force one another out of comfort zones. Miami won the last regular season meeting in April; undersized Miami somehow dropped 44 points in the paint despite Indiana averaging just 35.6 points allowed there per game.

    With two elite teams trying to impose their will on one another, it seems likely that we’ll see a long series full of close games. As we get ready for the festivities to begin this afternoon, let’s take a look back at the Best Moments of the Heat-Pacers Regular Season Meetings.

     

     

  • Paul George Lights It Up

    Game: 12/10 at Indiana

    Final score: Indiana 90, Miami 84

    Despite falling behind early, the Pacers mounted a third quarter behind Paul George’s hot hand. The small forward limited LeBron James to 17 points on 6-for-16 shooting but more importantly, George’s 15-point barrage in the second half got Indiana back into the game. This three-pointer nearly blew the roof off the building and gave the Pacers their biggest lead of the game.

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  • Dwyane Wade’s Monster Dunk

    Game: 12/10 at Indiana

    Final score: Indiana 90, Miami 84

    The Pacers’ second-half comeback was the story of this game but Miami didn’t go down without a fight. Dwyane Wade unleashed this hellacious, vintage dunk to cut the Indiana lead to two points with plenty of time to play. It wasn’t enough to beat back Indiana but, for a second, Wade looked like he was punching back against Father Time.

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  • Lance Stephenson and Mario Chalmers Mix It Up

    Game: 12/18 at Miami

    Final score: Miami 97, Indiana 94

    While this ended up being a classic “hold me back” type of NBA fight where exactly nothing happened. It was still a fun moment for fans, though, signaling the end of this series as a “friendly” rivalry. The elevated level of intensity and acrimony has carried over into subsequent games, too, and will certainly be on display in the Eastern Conference Finals.

     

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  • LeBron James and Mario Chalmers Argue on the Sideline

    Game: 12/18 at Miami

    Final score: Miami 97, Indiana 94

    Teammates bicker all the time, but this time felt significant. With the Heat trailing by nine after a Paul George three, the pair seemed to disagree over who botched the coverage. This beef carried over into the next timeout, where the normally-calm James absolutely lost his cool and raised up on Chalmers. While really nothing needs to be made of the argument itself (LeBron apologized right after the game), if you needed a sign that these guys cared deeply about beating Indiana, this was it.

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  • Ray Allen Hits a Dagger Three

    Game: 12/18 at Miami

    Final score: Miami 97, Indiana 94

    After Chris Bosh tied the game at 92 on an unexpected three-pointer with 1:30 to play, Miami followed an Indiana miss by running out in transition with a chance to go up. As he has done for his entire career, Ray Allen buried a wide open three that gave the Heat their first lead since early in the first quarter and capped a comeback from 15 points down in the final 18 minutes of the game.

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  • Lance Stephenson Gets Tossed

    Game: 3/26 at Indiana

    Final score: Indiana 84, Miami 83

    Some say Lance Stephenson is a bit too emotional on the court. Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel is probably among them. Despite already carrying a technical from earlier in the game, Lance felt it prudent to get in Dwyane Wade’s face after hitting a slashing layup that gave the Pacers a four point lead with five minutes to play. Stephenson’s over-the-top reaction elicited a laugh from Wade and a second technical from the referees, a silly play that helped keep Miami in the game.

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  • David West Drains a Huge Three

    Game: 3/26 at Indiana

    Final score: Indiana 84, Miami 83

    In big-time rivalry games, it’s often the most surprising person on the floor who can make the biggest impact. David West attempted just 15 threes all season (making four), and with Chris Bosh playing way off him and the shot clock winding down, he figured this was the best time to go for it. West’s huge shot gave Indiana a four point lead with under a minute to play, and proved to be the game-winner.

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  • Birdman Swats Paul George

    Game: 4/11 at Miami

    Final score: Miami 98, Indiana 86

    Entering the last matchup, the Pacers had come back down to earth after their fantastic start to the season. They “rested” their starters the previous game, though, so ostensibly everyone was fresh for this showdown to determine who had pole position for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. This first quarter swat of Paul George by Chris Andersen showed that Miami was not going to yield an inch to their rivals, and helped serve as a spark in the Heat’s big win.

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  • LeBron’s Big And-1

    Game: 4/11 at Miami

    Final score: Miami 98, Indiana 86

    Something clearly happened in the Heat locker room at halftime, because they came out with a vengeance in the second half. Miami went on a 16-0 run out of the gate to effectively put the game out of reach, and perhaps the finest play of this stretch was the and-1 by LeBron James who finished despite being fouled by two guys. Want an example of how this guy’s level is from everyone else? He gets hit but still manages to hang in the air for an extra second, keep his eye on the hoop, and get off a textbook-looking bank shot from a tough angle. Ridiculous.

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  • Roy Hibbert Gets Stuffed

    Game: 4/11 at Miami

    Final score: Miami 98, Indiana 86

    Roy Hibbert was deep into his late season swoon and if you needed evidence of that then this play is the perfect example. With a chance to convert an easy hoop on a pick-and-roll with Paul George, the 7’2” Hibbert allowed 6’2” Mario Chalmers to affect his angle to the hoop. Hibbert then put up a harmless floater from a foot away that Chris Bosh swatted into oblivion. The Pacer big man finished the game with five points and one rebound in 34 minutes, and he remains a gigantic X-factor heading into the Eastern Conference Finals.

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