Pacers–Heat rivalry

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Pacers–Heat rivalry
First meetingJanuary 15, 1989
Heat 118, Pacers 117
Latest meetingFebruary 8, 2023
Heat 116, Pacers 111
Next meetingNovember 30, 2023
Meetings total156
All-time series83–73 (IND)
Regular season series72–55 (IND)
Postseason results18–11 (MIA)
Longest win streakIND W11
Current win streakMIA W1
Postseason history

The Pacers–Heat rivalry is a basketball rivalry between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The rivalry started in 1988 with the creation of the Heat franchise. The two historic organizations have faced each other 5 times in the NBA Playoffs with Indiana winning their first matchup 4–2 in the 2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Most recently, the rivalry was renewed when Miami swept Indiana in the 2020 Eastern Conference First Round.

Pacers fans have adopted the slogan "Beat The Heat!" while playing Miami during their playoff battles and will often display the chant on clothing apparel, signs, and banners outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Much like the Knicks–Pacers rivalry, there is a mutual level of respect for the hustle, competitiveness, and physicality displayed during each encounter between Miami and Indiana.

During the early 2010s, both teams faced each other three consecutive years in 2012, 2013, and 2014, including back–to–back Eastern Conference Finals matchups. Miami's teams consisted of Hall of Famers LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, while Indiana's core included star Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson, and George Hill. The rivalry grew after several altercations occurred between core players from both teams throughout each series. In 2023, the last players active on either team was Udonis Haslem on the Heat and George Hill on the Pacers, who both competed in all three 2012, 2013, and 2014 playoff series.

After 6 years of no playoff action, the two met once again in the 2020 first round. Indiana was led by a core of Victor Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren, and Myles Turner, with Miami's team containing Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragić, and Tyler Herro. Even though Miami swept Indiana, and Pacers All–Star Domantas Sabonis did not play due to injury, the series remained competitive and physical, building upon a previous in–season altercation between Butler and Warren in which players were ejected and fined.

2004 Eastern Conference Semifinals[edit]

The two franchises first met in the 2004 NBA playoffs, when Indiana won 4–2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Indiana was seen as title contenders, having the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference, and the best record in the league, led by Reggie Miller, Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest, and Al Harrington. The Heat were led by rookie Dwyane Wade, Lamar Odom, Eddie Jones, and Caron Butler, with this being Wade's first ever playoff experience. The Pacers would go on to lose in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons. Following the 2003–04 NBA season, and before meeting again in 2012, Indiana remained competitive in the Eastern Conference, while Miami would win their first ever championship in 2006 after acquiring Shaquille O'Neal.

2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals[edit]

A true rivalry with the Miami Heat was triggered in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA playoffs. During the series, both head coaches were fined for statements made relating to the officiating: Frank Vogel accused the Heat of flopping before the series started, while Erik Spoelstra took offense to what he perceived to be deliberate "head–hunting" of his players on the part of the Pacers. In 2012, Indiana took a 2–1 lead after Miami's Chris Bosh was sidelined with an abdominal strain. Powered by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Miami won three straight games to take the series, 4–2 and later become 2012 NBA Champions.

2013 Eastern Conference Finals[edit]

The following season saw improvements for both teams, from Miami's acquisitions of Ray Allen and Chris Andersen, to the emergence of Paul George and Lance Stephenson in the absence of Danny Granger due to a season–ending injury. Notably, it was after the Heat lost to the Pacers that they compiled a 27–game winning streak; the last time the Heat lost two in a row in the year were the games against Indiana and Portland. During the waning minutes of Game 6 in the Semifinals between the Pacers and the New York Knicks, the Pacers' fans were chanting "Beat The Heat" as their team beat their old New York rivals. True to form, the Heat and the Pacers met in the Conference Finals of the 2013 NBA playoffs on May 22, 2013. Several instances of physicality became prominent in the series: Shane Battier received an offensive foul for throwing his knee at Hibbert's midsection; Hibbert claimed that it was intentional dirty play on the part of Battier. Andersen suffered a bloodied nose after colliding with David West. Ian Mahinmi received a retroactive flagrant foul for a grab of James' arm. Norris Cole latched a hand on West's groin area as he tried to slip through West. Wade received a retroactive flagrant foul for hitting Stephenson in the head, another incident that the Pacers, notably Paul George, felt was a dirty play. The Heat survived Game 1 on a James game–winning layup, while the Pacers came back to tie the series at 1–1 after forcing James into two late fourth–quarter turnovers for Game 2. In Game 3, the Heat set a team record for points in a post–season half with 70. It was the first time the Pacers had given up 70 points since 1992. Allen's single turnover was the least ever suffered by the Heat in a first half. Their five total turnovers is tied for the fewest in franchise history. The Game 3 victory marked the first time that an NBA team had won five straight road games by double digits. The Heat won the series 4–3, with a 99–76 win in game 7, eventually becoming 2013 NBA Champions.[1]

2014 Eastern Conference Finals[edit]

In the 2014 NBA playoffs, the Pacers and Heat renewed their rivalry in a second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals match up. Indiana entered the series with home court advantage, having earned the 1st seed in the Eastern Conference, with a 56–26 record during the 2013–14 season. Indiana's core players from this series included Paul George, David West, Lance Stephenson, George Hill, Roy Hibbert, and new acquisitions, Evan Turner, Luis Scola, and Andrew Bynum. Likewise, Miami's key players again consisted of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, as well as newcomers Greg Oden and Michael Beasley. Even though the Pacers were viewed as legitimate title contenders, Miami eliminated Indiana again, this time in 6 games.

2020 Eastern Conference First Round[edit]

Indiana and Miami would meet again for the first time since 2014 in the 2020 NBA playoffs with the Heat sweeping the Pacers in the first round. Indiana was led by Victor Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Myles Turner. The Heat were led by and Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragić, and Tyler Herro, who ended up reaching the 2020 NBA Finals. Indiana sustained significant injuries preventing All–Star Domantas Sabonis and Jeremy Lamb from playing in the 2020 NBA Bubble.


  1. ^ "Pacers at Heat – June 3, 2013 – Game Preview, Play by Play, Scores and Recap on". Retrieved July 1, 2013.