The Norman Transcript

National Sports

March 26, 2014

After three months apart, Miami and Indiana set to square off again

MIAMI — Heat forward Chris Bosh has a confession: Games at this time of year simply mean more to him than games in December.

Not exactly shocking, of course.

But when so much hubbub surrounded the last game between Miami and Indiana way back on Dec. 18, Bosh wasn’t necessarily buying into the supposed significance. After all, he figured, the season was basically only one-third over at that point.

The Heat and Pacers finally play again on Wednesday. And this time, Bosh knows the buzz is real.

“I know everybody’s trying to make the games important back in December,” Bosh said. “Well, now they’re important.”

The Eastern Conference race won’t be decided on Wednesday night, but the pendulum is either going to swing toward Indiana moving considerably closer to the No. 1 seed or back toward the Heat and a chaotic, potentially down-to-the-wire finish. If the Pacers — who have been alone atop the East standings since Nov. 4 — win, they would move three games clear of Miami in the East race. If the Heat prevail, the teams will be tied in the loss column.

And given that these teams don’t like each other, plus have faced each other in extremely hard-fought series in each of the past two postseasons, this probably won’t seem like just another regular-season game.

“Everybody’s getting what they want,” Bosh said.

Neither team is exactly rolling into this matchup. Both teams have lost seven of their last 12 games, meaning the Heat have missed plenty of chances to grab the No. 1 spot, and the Pacers have missed plenty of chances to wrap up home-court throughout the East playoffs.

“We’re just not clicking,” Pacers center Roy Hibbert said after his team lost at Chicago on Monday night. “And we should be clicking.”

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