The Indiana Pacers came close to dethroning the Miami Heat in the 2013 postseason after stretching them to full seven games in the East Finals. We’re at that point of the playoffs again and this time the Pacers have an added weapon: homecourt advantage after topping the regular season in the East.
Will it be enough to oust LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heat?
3 Keys for a Pacers Upset Over the Heat:
Dominant Roy Hibbert The tallest Heat player is Greg Oden but it appears he’s out of the rotation of Erik Spoelstra. Can the likes of Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen contain Hibbert on offense? Or first things first, which Hibbert will play in this series? The good one has dominated the Heat in the past and the bad one struggled against the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards in this postseason.
Homecooking in Indiana The Pacers already lost four home games in this postseason. They can’t afford to lose more against the defending champions. They MUST protect homecourt advantage if they want to have a chance. The first two games will be crucial as a win by the Heat will mean a split entering Games 3 and 4 in Miami.
Superstar George Similar to the pressure on Hibbert, the Pacers will need Paul George to step up especially as he’s up against the best player in the planet. If George is consistent in his scoring, at least that sorts of neutralizes LeBron’s offensive output. And on defense, if he can at least contain LeBron—or limit him to either just a playmaker or just a scorer… it would already be a small victory for the Pacers, which will have a better chance of beating the Heat without a dominant James.
Despite the top seeding in the East, the Pacers are considered (rightfully) the underdog in this series. They are priced 4.05 to win this best-of-seven affair against the Heat favourites by 1.25. Even in the opening game the spread is set at +2.5 for the ‘dogs Pacers.
Are the books totally disrespecting Indiana with these lines? Or is Miami just that good?