The Miami Heat were the first team Paul George faced last season following his lengthy recovery from a gruesome injury.
The Indiana Pacers forward will try to show them how far he's come Friday night in Indianapolis while building on the best scoring performance of his comeback.
It took a little more than eight months for George to appear in a game after he suffered compound fractures in his lower right leg in a Team USA scrimmage Aug. 1. That return came April 5 in a 112-89 home win over the Heat.
George had 13 points in 14-plus minutes and hit two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to help Indiana pull away. Considering what he overcame, his stats mattered little in 2014-15 as he averaged 8.8 points on 36.7 percent shooting in six games.
George looks like he's back to his former All-Star self this season with 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game despite some shooting struggles. He didn't have too many issues knocking down 3-pointers Wednesday, going 5 of 11 from beyond the arc while scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 boards in a 100-98 win over Boston.
The Pacers (2-3) still needed Monta Ellis' free throws with 13.7 seconds left to post a second straight victory.
"I think we're just starting to complete quarters. I thought we played well against the first three opponents, but we just failed to play a complete game. We were very dull in the fourth quarter when we needed to be our best," George said. "I think our will forced this win."
Indiana went 3-1 against Miami last season despite George missing most of those matchups.
The Heat (3-2) have alternated wins and losses through five games but had their finest defensive performance Thursday, limiting Minnesota to 35.3 percent shooting in a 96-84 victory. They held No. 1 overall draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns to his first single-digit scoring night as a pro, six points on 3-of-13 shooting.
That came a day after veteran guard Gerald Green was hospitalized for unspecified reasons. It's unclear when Green, averaging 10.3 points, will return. He played 60 games for the Pacers in 2012-13.
Dwyane Wade, meanwhile, had 25 points after dealing with a migraine in a 98-92 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday. Wade has scored at least 20 points in each of the first five games and has shot a combined 55.9 percent in the past two after going 11 of 19 on Thursday.
"You love to see it because when we see him at the facility as much as the staff, what you see is the commitment," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Players have to adapt with age, and hopefully he's like a fine wine."
Wade is shooting 55.0 percent in his last six games in Indiana - three during the 2014 Eastern Conference finals - and scored 27 in the loss in April. Miami has dropped eight of nine there including the playoffs.
C.J. Miles totaled 42 points in the Pacers' two home wins over Miami last season, but his status is unclear because of an injured right ankle that kept him out Wednesday.