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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Indiana Pacers were the hottest team in the NBA east of the Golden State Warriors in November but are having a more difficult time generating wins in December. The Pacers will attempt to snap a three-game slide when they host the Miami Heat on Friday.

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Indiana went 11-2 in November and won its December opener but fell at Portland and at Utah to close out a four-game road trip before falling into a deep hole and watching a comeback come up short in a 131-123 home loss to the Warriors on Tuesday. “We just have to get back to our game,” Pacers guard George Hill told reporters. “We’ve been focusing on the offensive end a little bit too much, and (need to) get back to Pacer basketball – that smash-mouth, defending well (style).” The Heat are in a similar rut on the defensive end and allowed an average of 106.5 points in back-to-back losses, raising their season mark to 93.3. Miami is having a hard time knocking off the teams that figure to be in direct competition for Easter Conference playoff spots, with its last four losses coming against Charlotte, Washington, Boston and Detroit.

ABOUT THE HEAT (12-8)
Miami opened a stretch of four of five on the road with a 99-81 loss at Charlotte on Wednesday and bemoaned its lack of execution at both ends of the floor. “Big old-fashioned butt-whooping,” Chris Bosh, echoing similar sentiments expressed by Dwyane Wade and coach Eric Spoelstra, told reporters. “Everything was off. We messed up in every facet. By now, we should know our game and what we want to get to, but we don’t do it. We talk about things, but we don’t do it. We’ve had enough conversations.” Bosh and Wade combined for just 18 points in the loss, and no starter managed more than 11 points.

ABOUT THE PACERS (12-8)
Indiana allowed an average of 93.2 points while winning 12 of 14 but has been torched for 125.3 in the last three contests. “We just gave up points way too fast,” Paul George told reporters after surrendering a season high to Golden State. “They are going to score, but we needed to be more effective defensively.” George tried to bring the Pacers back in each of the last two games and totaled 81 points in the two contests, raising his scoring average to 27.9.

BUZZER BEATERS

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1. George had 36 points and 12 rebounds in a 90-87 win over Miami on Nov. 6.

2. Miami F Luol Deng (hamstring) came off the bench in his return to the lineup on Wednesday and will continue to see a lighter minutes until he works his way into shape.

3. Indiana G C.J. Miles is 14-of-28 from 3-point range in the last three games.

PREDICTION
Pacers 102, Heat 93

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