LeBron James Miami Heat Portland Trail Blazers
Miami Heat forward LeBron James drives to the basket in the NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers, 24 March. Reuters

The race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference will heat up further when the second-placed Miami Heat visits the team at the top of the standings - the Indiana Pacers.

Both teams have struggled for consistency of late, with neither able to take control of the Eastern Conference standings. The Pacers hold the edge at the moment, like they have since November, with Indiana leading Miami by two games. A win over the Heat will take them three games clear, while a defeat will pull Miami even closer, with the loss tally remaining equal.

"As many chances as we had, we kept playing with it, we were struggling, they were struggling, we had our chances," Miami forward Chris Bosh said of the Eastern Conference race. "We still have our chance with two showdowns with them.

"It's coming down to a photo finish. We have a unique opportunity. No matter what's happened this whole season, we're within striking distance. It's here and it'll be a great playoff atmosphere. I can't wait."

The Heat (48-21) nearly threw away a comfortable lead over the Portland Trail Blazers a couple of days ago, blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter before holding on for the win.

The Pacers (51-20) are coming off losses to the Chicago Bulls and the Memphis Grizzlies, games where their offence failed to ignite and the defence just did not have enough to stop their opponents.

"We had a real good practice [Tuesday]. I think we got better," Roy Hibbert told the team's official website. "It's always nice to have some practice days at home. Hopefully that can translate to us doing things well on the court and winning the right way.

"Another measuring stick for us, especially now more than ever because we haven't been playing as well as we want to," Paul George added of the Heat challenge.

The Heat will be buoyed by the return of Dwyane Wade to the lineup after the veteran guard missed the last two games with Achilles and knee injuries. "I feel good," Wade said after taking part in practice Tuesday. "I came in today to test it out, and it felt pretty good.

"So now, hopefully, [Wednesday] it's not as sore and I can continue to progress and get back on the court."

LeBron James also welcomed the possible return of his teammate, knowing Wade's importance to the team. "It's a plus when we've got him in the lineup," James said. "He commands attention when he's handling the ball, in the post or on the break. Anytime we can get guys who can attract attention from other guys, it helps a lot."

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for an 8 pm ET (5.30 am IST, 12 am GMT) start with live coverage on ESPN in the US, Sony Six in India and BT Sport 1 in the UK. The game can be watched via live streaming online in the US HERE, while UK viewers can live stream the action HERE. The game can be live streamed by international viewers, including India, HERE.