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Pacers vs. Heat Links: Pacers take different approach into Game 3 this year

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Last year the Pacers were excited to be battling the Heat in the playoffs. This year the Pacers are using their experience to focus on beating the Heat.

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The stakes are higher but the scene is eerily similar. Last year in the second round of the playoffs, the Pacers hosted Game 3, coming off of a big Game 2 win with a 1-1 series against the Miami Heat.

The situation in Game 3 tonight is similar but the circumstances have changed drastically. For one, the teams are playing in the Eastern Conference finals. But more importantly, the Pacers are playing to win with a firm belief they can grab three more W's from the Heat.

As Mike Wells points out today, the celebration following their Game 2 win last season (as shown in the image above) revealed a team quite happy to be where they were without the experience to handle raised expectation. Now David West has full control of the team's mentality and the big goals the Pacers are chasing.

"We've been through this before as a group," West said. "There's just no need to celebrate. We won a game that we prepared for, we played hard and competed. We felt like we put in enough work to win. And we did."

Much of the focus while waiting for the tip surrounds Dwyane Wade. For one, will he face a suspension for his flying elbow to the head of Lance Stephenson. Also, if he plays, can he give LeBron James more help. James has been spectacular and his Game 3 effort was about as good as it gets. Just wasn't good enough to close the deal for the Heat.

Wade was struggling early in the series last year before coming to life in Game 4 at the Fieldhouse. You have to assume that otherworldly effort from James will remain, but the Pacers, and in particular Paul George, Roy Hibbert and George Hill have to continue to bring it on a consistent basis. If not, blow out city the wrong way. Three more epic efforts, good times in the Circle City.

Check out the links:

Pacers playoffs: A different Indiana team is facing the same situation as last season | Indianapolis Star |

Game Preview: Pacers vs Heat, Game 3 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Pacers Backcourt Moving Front and Center | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

How Pacers were built, how they'll keep succeeding as CBA kicks in - CBS Sports

James may be king, but George looks like crown prince - 1070 The Fan

2013 NBA playoffs -- NBA reviewing Dwyane Wade's elbow, other plays from Game 2 of Eastern Conference finals - ESPN

Pacers radio announcer Mark Boyle rips HEAT fans at end of Game 2 - Hot Hot Hoops

Will Dwyane Wade Get Suspended for Elbow to Lance Stephenson’s Head? | 8 Points, 9 Seconds

Dan Le Batard: Dwyane Wade must be copilot or Miami Heat going down in flames - Dan Le Batard -

Miami Heat: LeBron shows how to think in playoffs - South Florida

Miami Heat a team out of focus - Miami Heat -

Heat-Pacers Game 3 Preview: How does Miami respond to defeat? -

Tim Duncan shines brightly as San Antonio comes from way back to take a 3-0 series lead | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports