MIAMI – Before the Friday night showdown with the Miami Heat, center Roy Hibbert felt like the warmth of South Florida would help loosen him up.
"The weather down here is pretty nice so it will increase your knees and joints," said 7-2 Hibbert on Friday morning.
However by the evening, Hibbert's game stayed in the cooler.
Hibbert did not have an official shot attempt through the first half and no rebounds. He finished the game with five points, two blocked and one rebound. The presence of Heat power forward Udonis Haslem might have played a role, as he used a strong lower base to keep Hibbert from posting close to the rim.
BOX SCORE: Heat 98, Pacers 86
"He's a good NBA player so it's going to be a tough game, tough matchup," Hibbert predicted. "I just try to make the right play. We won the last game when he was on me, so don't try to force anything."
Those words could've helped Hibbert's teammates. More than Haslem's defense, the Pacers' offensive decisions affected Hibbert's usage.
On the first Pacers' possession of the game, David West blew a chance to get the ball into Hibbert. Later, with less than a minute remaining in the half, Lance Stephenson sent a bounce pass towards Hibbert's shoelaces that ended up out of bounds. In the first half, the Pacers committed 10 turnovers and four by simply trying to force bad entry passes to Hibbert.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade missed his ninth straight game with a strained left hamstring. Wade last played on March 26 in Indianapolis but had to sit out the final two minutes of the Pacers' 84-83 victory after aggravating the injury.
"It is no different than what we said, it is day-to-day," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about Wade's status. "He has been stepping up his workouts and the intensity level has been going up.
"When he is able to play, he is playing. We are not saving him. Once he gets cleared and we are on the same page, we are going with it."
Throughout the season, injuries have caused inconsistencies for Miami as the two-time defending champs have used 19 different starting lineups. On Friday night, combo guard Toney Douglas filled in for Wade for the sixth time. Before the matchup, the Heat were 3-2 with lineup of Haslem, Douglas, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers.
"Toney gives us an element that is similar to Dwyane and we are able to keep that second unit together," Spoelstra said. "I like his minutes that he has given us. He gives us that defense toughness with his quickness and his ability to (pass) the ball."
Miami center Greg Oden, who also hasn't played since the March 26 matchup against the Pacers, sat out with back spasms.
Call Star reporter Candace Buckner at (317) 444-6121. Follow her on Twitter: @CandaceDBuckner.