Pacers Links: Pacers ready to meet Heat for first time since playoffs

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The Pacers look to measure themselves against the top team in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night.

The Indiana Pacers host the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, playing the defending champs for the first time since losing to them in the second round of the playoffs last season.

Both teams look different than they did when they last met in late May but for the Pacers the challenge remains the same: trying to prove they can play with the elite teams in the NBA.

As Mark Montieth reports, the Pacers expect to give the Heat their best shot.

"If we can't get up for this game, then we really aren't prepared for the season," Paul George said. "This is a game we really should be ready for."

That's what makes the Heat a truly elite NBA team. Every night they get the other team's best effort and still maintain the best record in the East. But c'mon, they're still the Heat. The South Beach floppers must have reformed their ways either that or I've missed the flopping warnings coming from the league office. Yeah, right. Too bad Danny Granger won't be available tonight to take issue with every little slight the Heat direct toward the blue and gold.

An interesting subplot should be seeing how Lance Stephenson handles his much bigger role with the Pacers against Dwyane Wade. After the media seized on his choke sign on the bench last year, Wade and LeBron James may be looking to make sure he remembers their visit. At least Stephenson won't have to worry about Dexter Pittman trying to decapitate him like he did in the playoffs during garbage time. Pittman was in Sioux Falls last night putting up a tidy double-double in the D-League.

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