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Pacers Links: Pacers set to face Heat, Game 7 demons in Miami

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The Pacers return to the scene of their last great disappointment for a regular season matchup that won't help erase the pain of losing Game 7 last year.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There's only one way for the Pacers to get over their Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals last year and that requires beating the Heat THIS year in the playoffs.

So as satisfying as it may be for the Pacers to beat Miami on their home floor tonight, it will remain just another regular season game, long forgotten when the snow and ice in Indy are gone and the spring weather is upon us.

Win or lose the Pacers will return home atop the standings in the East. But just like last week, the theater of the matchup will always be entertaining.  These two squads meet up at L.A. Fitness with nobody watching and it will be a heated battle.

Tonight the matchup will unfold in front of a national audience on ESPN with the Pacers facing the first hint of adversity. Paul George is struggling as defenses load up on him. The loss at home to Detroit on Monday with the Heat and Houston Rockets up next on the schedule puts the 20-4 start to the test as the Pacers need to shore things up at both ends of the floor to avoid their first losing streak of the year.

"We're going to have to play physical," Paul George said of the pending matchup. "We're going to have to tighten up offensively and defensively, as well. I think that's been the biggest slip in this team is guarding and getting back to being one of the best defenses in the league."

So, yeah, the Pacers realize their high level of play has dipped lately as the grind of the regular season takes hold. They continue to focus on one game at a time, but tonight the rest of the NBA will also focus on their game with the Heat.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers at Heat | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Pacers aren't fretting over George's mini-slump - Indy Star

Pacers-Heat Preview - AP

Wade: Heat has ‘healthy respect’ for Pacers - 1070 The Fan

Linda Robertson: Miami Heat needs to be wary of Indiana Pacers - Linda Robertson - MiamiHerald.com

Ankle injury might ground Miami Heat’s LeBron James against Indiana Pacers - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com

LeBron James ankle: Heat star says he is day-to day - Sun Sentinel

LeBron James misses practice, game-time call against Indiana Pacers - ESPN

Nobody’s Perfect: Indiana’s Turnover and Offensive Rebounding Problems | 8 Points, 9 Seconds

SB Nation Theme Day: Miami's targets in the trade market - Hot Hot Hoops

The reliance on the 3-pointer and whether or not it's hurting the NBA - Grantland

Hawks, Celtics, Cavaliers, 76ers lead pack to acquire Rockets center Omer Asik - Yahoo Sports

Eric Bledsoe maintains hold on No. 1 spot in Most Improved Rankings; Should Paul George be Considered?