The Miami Heat are coming off of a crushing defeat at the hands of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the OKC Thunder. How will the Heat respond tonight when they visit the Indiana Pacers as three point favorites?

Tip-off for tonight's matchup is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

The Heat always get the respect from the NBA odds makers, as they're a 3 point favorite, with the toatl set at 192.

Can LBJ and D.Wade forget about last night's disaster against the Thunder and focus on the Indiana Pacers who are no slouch at 28-19 and ranked 6th in points allowed this season?

Making a statement!

Heat vs. PacersMagic Johnson said it best on TNT television after the Heat got blown away by the Thunder, when he played against teams like the Celtics, he wanted to send out a message and make a statement. 

Miami has yet to do that with defeats to powerhouses like the Lakers and the Thunder. The question is "are the Miami Heat as good as they think that they are, or is it just hype?".

Lebron James had 17 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds on 8 of 18 shooting from the field. That's flatout weak for the best player in the world. This is how I see it; Lebron James has the tools to be the best player ever. He's Magic, Larry, and Michael rolled up into one, yet he lacks the confidence during pivotal parts of a game when a team needs to close out a game in the 4th quarter.

This season will be very telling, as the Heat should have a decent shot at the title. Dwayne Wade has his ring but LBJ remains ringless, and for a player with his talent, that's a problem. 

I'm not looking for Miami to lay a beating on the Pacers on the road this evening, but I'm expecting the Pacers to put up a galiant effort against the vulnerable Heat. 

Difference maker 

When I think of a difference maker in this game, I'm not thinking "Big 3" because they're expected to perform in a game like this. I'm thinking of forward Shane Battier. Battier has become a Bruce Bowen type player in a sense. 

The Heat will put him on the opposition's best offensive player for defense. Battier is coming off of a solid offensive game of 11 points, and anything that he can give offensively is a plus for Miami. This is a player that was taught by the best coach in college at Duke, and can become a real asset to the Heat as they strive to win their 1st championship together with this group of players. Look for Battier to be on Granger like glue.

Mountain of a man 

Pacers vs. HeatsIndiana center Roy Hibbert is a big man, and he's every bit of the 7 foot 2, 260 pounds that he's listed at. Hibbert will never be a superstar, but he's very similar to a former Indiana center Rik Smits. Hibbert will have an occasional standout game, play solid defense, and he will put up good consistent numbers.  

Big Roy has been playing well as of late. In his last 5 games, he's averaging 18.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He definitely has some size on Bosh and will be a nuisance to James and Wade if they decide to drive to the basket. Hibbert's play will be key to how well Indiana play's in this game. 

Miami's whipping boy

I don't want to make forward Danny Granger out to be a weak basketball player, because he is far from that. He leads the Pacers in scoring with 17.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game and is very reliable. However, Granger has had a difficult time against the Heat in the past; averaging 9.3 points, 4 rebounds, while shooting just 29.4% from the field. The Pacers need Granger to step it up here, as Miami will be hungry for a win after being embarrassed. Look for Granger to break out of the funk and play well.

Key head to head trends 

Heat are 4-0 ATS against the Pacers at Indiana

Under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings at Indiana

Road team is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings

Outcome of the game

Going against Miami is always a risk as they're one of the top teams in the NBA. The NBA betting line is set at a short three point spread, but given the way that the Heat looked and played yesterday, I will be cautious to add them to my NBA picks. This is back to back, take Indy and the points at home. 

NBA betting Pick - Indiana +3