INDIANAPOLIS (CBSMiami/AP) – Dwyane Wade and company are hoping that a couple games on the road will help the Miami Heat get back on track.
While the Heat are coming off a 2-5 homestand, Danny Granger just had his best game in over two years ahead of visiting the place he called home for eight-plus seasons.
The Heat open a stretch of seven road games over their next eight Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers, whom Granger will face for the first time since they traded him.
Miami (14-18) may be thrilled to be hitting the road since it has won more games there than at home this season. The Heat are 8-6 away from home and 6-12 in Miami after dropping eight of their last 10 at American Airlines Arena.
The Heat fell short at home again Monday when Wade missed a jumper at the buzzer in a 102-101 loss to Orlando. Wade, who scored 15 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Heat will now spend a majority of the next 17 days on the road.
“It’s one game at a time on the road,” Wade said. “Nothing is guaranteed; win or lose. Obviously, we’ve proven that at home. We just focus on whatever our opponent is that day on the road and you try to win every game you can.”
Granger will certainly be focused against his former team.
“Obviously, he spent his whole career there,” Wade said. “It’s going to be a little weird for him to go back there … to be on the other side of them guys, and what he was able to do for that organization to get them to where they are now.”
Granger ranks fourth in Pacers history with 9,571 points and led them in scoring for five straight seasons from 2007-2012 while earning his only All-Star nod in ’09. However, knee and hamstring injuries limited him to 34 games with Indiana over the past two seasons, and he was traded to Philadelphia before being cut a week later.
A stint with the Los Angeles Clippers was followed by a move to Miami via free agency last summer. However, a nagging hamstring has limited Granger to 12 games with the Heat and he sat out an 81-75 home loss to Indiana (11-21) on Nov. 12.
He seems poised for a memorable return to Indianapolis after scoring a season-high 21 points while hitting 6 of 7 3-point attempts against the Magic. That came two days after he scored 18 in a 103-95 loss to Memphis.
Granger hadn’t had back-to-back totals of at least 18 points since April 19-21, 2012.
“We knew it would be a process,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of signing the forward. “He’s already ahead of schedule. We didn’t think that this would happen until after the new year, but he’s been very, very committed and diligent to his work.”
Like the Heat, the Pacers are struggling at home, compiling a 6-9 record after C.J. Watson missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer in Monday’s 92-90 loss to Chicago.
“We were getting some stops, we just fell short,” coach Frank Vogel said.
Indiana is among the lowest scoring teams in the league at 94.5 points per game and could use more from Rodney Stuckey and Roy Hibbert, who totaled 11 points Monday.
Stuckey, who missed the last meeting with a foot injury, is averaging 8.5 points on 38.8 percent shooting over the past six games – though that number gets a bump from the 20 he scored in a 110-85 win over Brooklyn on Saturday.
Hibbert had 16 points and 15 rebounds Nov. 12 but has a combined 12 and six, respectively, over his past two games.
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