Heat-not three game stretch-at top of Pacers minds

If only the elixir would work now, than Roy Hibbert would be set.

A glace at the week's schedule ahead made the center reflect on his youth full of round-robin basketball tournaments with multiple games a day.

"In those days you could play off of Starburst, Skittles and Gatorade," remembered the Pacers center when asked how he got through a stretch of multiple games in a few amount of days.

Unfortunately the magic potion is about ten years late and Hibbert along with his team will have to find a new strategy to deal with their most intriguing part of their season.

On Tuesday the Pacers will play the first of three games on consecutive days, the first of two during the condensed 66-game NBA season. Its a rarity in professional basketball but a necessity after the lockout canceled most of the first two months of the season.

"Ice tubs and heat wraps and a lot of sleep and a lot of water," said Danny Granger when asked how he'll get through the unusual stretch. "it's a really tough schedule here."

Especially the beginning when the Pacers match-up against the Miami Heat and their big three of LeBron James, Dewayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The trio has led the Heat to a 21-7 record, second best in the Eastern Conference, as the dream offseason of a year ago appears more ready than ever to win an NBA Championship.

It's one reason why head coach Frank Vogel says he's not dwelling on the entire stretch itself, which continues on Wednesday with a game at Cleveland and then concludes with a home match-up with the Nets Thursday.

"We'll deal with that towards the second and third night," said Vogel of the stretch. "Our focus is right now is strictly on cleaning up some slippage, particularly on the defensive end."

That's where the team has struggled during their first three-game losing streak of the sesason which preceeds the back-to-back-to-back games. In those contests the Pacers have allowed an average of 102 points a contest, well above the team's season average of 94.

"I think we have to get more tied together, rely on one another a little bit more," said forward David West on what the team has to do to fix its recent defensive problems. "Especially going into (Tuesday's) game because its going to require a team effort to beat these guys and defend them."

Perhaps it will help that Miami will be concluding their trio just as the Pacers are beginning theirs. The Heat played the Hawks on Sunday in Atlanta and then the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday before their trip to Indiana.

Both of them were wins for the Heat, who easily handled the Pacers in a

"We let them take the fight to us," remembered Vogel of the first meeting with Miami. "I don't think we pressured them, I think we played a little intimidated and backed off them.

"We did it in an effort to try and make them beat us from the perimeter but it was really a passive approach and we want to be more aggressive."

Then find a way to do that three times over.

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