The Heat are hurting. The Pacers are sputtering.
Yet when the teams meet in Miami on Friday night, those things won't matter. The winner will take complete command of the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, with less than a week to go in the regular season.
Indiana comes into this game with a half-game lead over Miami in the East. Should the Pacers win Friday their magic number for wrapping up the top seed in the East playoffs would be one. If Miami wins, it would be in position to secure home-court for at least three playoff rounds.
The Heat have lost 11 of their last 21 games - and Indiana's been even worse, losing 12 of its last 20.
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