Heat vs. Pacers: ECF Preview and Predictions

The Indiana Pacers gave the Miami Heat a bit of a scare in last year’s playoffs, taking a 2-1 series lead in their second round match up. The Heat eventually won the series in six games, and then went on to win the title.

This year, the two teams meet again, with a spot in the NBA Finals at stake. Do the Pacers have enough to beat the Heat, or will the Big 3 carry Miami to a third straight Finals appearance?

Miami seems like it should be the heavy favorite to win this series. The Heat haven’t really been tested yet in these Playoffs, and they look like they can shift to a higher gear should they need to.

Indiana has done quite well, beating both the Hawks and the Knicks in six games. They’ve used their size advantage, and they’ve defended as well as they have all season long.

The Pacers beat the Heat two out of three times in the regular season, and both times by double digits. That should give Pacers fans some hope that their team maybe could beat Miami. I wouldn’t bet on it.

The Pacers have improved from last year, which is big considering that they haven’t had Danny Granger (injured) this year. Much of that improvement is from Paul George, who’s probably better now than Granger ever was.

Indiana’s defense has been amazing this year. They use their length to disrupt opposing offenses, they have a great anchor in Roy Hibbert, and they have someone who can pretty much guard anyone on the other team in Paul George.

However, as good as Indiana’s defense is, they just don’t have enough firepower to overcome Miami. Sure, the Pacers can match up pretty well with the Heat, but I don’t see how they can contain LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for seven straight games (if it even gets to that).

On the other end, the Pacers’ offense just dies sometimes (remember Game 2 against the Knicks?), which is going to be a huge problem. How will Indiana score against Miami’s scrambling defense? I have no idea.

The Indiana Pacers have had a great season, one where they showed significant improvement compared to last year. However, I think this is the end of the line for them.

My Pick: Miami in 6

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Categories: NBA

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