It’s official: Miami Heat to face rival Pacers in first round of NBA Playoffs

Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren defends Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler during the second half of a game in Indianapolis, Jan. 8, 2020. Warren was called for his second technical foul later in the play. The Heat won 122-108. (AJ Mast, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – The Miami Heat now know who they'll be facing when the NBA Playoffs begin in the Orlando bubble next week.

Thanks to the Indiana Pacers’ 108-104 victory over Houston Rockets on Wednesday, they are locked into a first round matchup with Jimmy Butler and the Heat.

Miami (44-27) and Indiana (44-28) will hold the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the Eastern Conference. The Heat have two games remaining on their schedule; Wednesday night against Oklahoma City and Friday against the Pacers.

The 4 p.m. tipoff on Friday is the only game remaining on Indiana's schedule.

Entertainment value of the Heat-Pacers series should be high. The two rivals have played three times this season, with Miami coming out with the dub each time.

There will be particular interest paid to the potential conflict between Miami’s Butler and Indiana’s T.J. Warren. The two have been involved in some fierce battles this season, and playoff intensity could only add fuel to the fire.

Miami and Indiana last faced off in the postseason during the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals, which was the third straight year that the two teams met in the playoffs, and the second in a row they locked horns in the East Finals. The Heat came out on top in each of those three meetings.

About the Author:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.