The Heat, the defending league champions, are a battle-tested squad very familiar with the pressure of late-season playoffs. For the Pacers, these are pretty much untested waters as only one member of the team has ever been in a conference final. Backup big man Ian Mahinmi got all of 71 seconds in one game of the 2011 West title series with Dallas.
The clubs met three times during the regular season with Indiana taking two of the contests. Those two wins came in Indianapolis while the Heat won in Miami.
Game 2 will take place in Miami Friday night.
It's the Pacers' first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals since 2004.
The Pacers just finished up a rekindled playoff rivalry against the Knicks, and we may be seeing a new one against Miami.
For the second straight year, the Pacers are facing the Heat in the playoffs.
Last year, it was a physical series. Indiana took Miami to six games in the Eastern semifinals, leading the series 2-1 at one point.
This year, while the Pacers are expecting the same sort of drama, they're certainly hoping for a different result.
"The guys are on the court. They'll be focused. It's a battle of wills and hopefully we can go out there and do it," said Roy Hibbert.
"Obviously we remember what happened last year," said Paul George, Pacers forward. "That's always gonna be on our minds facing this team. But we're happy that we've overcome the things we overcame to make it to this point, so this is another task. We gotta get past this one too."
The Pacers held practice Wednesday afternoon ahead of Wednesday night's huge Game 1 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Watch Eyewitness News at 6:00 pm for a preview and 11:00 pm for game highlights from Eric Yutzy.
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