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Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat Gambling Preview & Free NBA Picks

Pacers vs Heat NBA Handicapping

This is the match-up that everyone in the basketball world has been stewing over for most the 2013-14 season.

The Heat (53-25) are the “Evil Empire” sort of team that everyone is looking to knock off: Well-established narrative there. But the Pacers (54-25) have been the subject of much analysis and head-scratching over the last few weeks. [ad-4468020]

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Date/Time: Friday, April 11 2014, 7:30 pm EST
Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami FL
Odds: Heat -5.5
Total: 182.5

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For a good chunk of this season, Indiana looked like a juggernaut that found success its own way, and was more than capable of knocking off Miami in a playoff series. However, the Pacers have been downright dysfunctional recently, with poor roster decisions, confused offensive play and locker-room squabbling.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel benched his entire starting five in their last game against the pitiful Milwaukee Bucks, and Indiana still won the game with a last-second buzzer beater. The decision paid off, and Vogel is hoping the bit of late-season rest will give his starters the vitality they need to run with the Heat in south Florida tonight.

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Indiana has always hung its hat on defensive play, a team populated with the kind of rough-and-tumble characters that aren’t intimidated by someone like hoops god LeBron James. Still, a successful basketball team still needs a little offense to get by, and Indiana has been looking mystified on that side of the court lately.

Poor offense. Like Milwaukee and Philadelphia 76ers poor; two teams that are deliberately gunning for train-wreck seasons. Not a happy sight for Indiana’s loyal fan base, to be sure.

The Pacers desperately hope that star player Paul George can find his MVP-worthy form from earlier in the season and Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson and the rest of the gang can do enough around George to ensure that Indiana is putting the ball in the hoop.
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Indiana notoriously gives an inspired performance versus the Heat, so you can bet the home side will be up for this late-season game. The Heat have resembled the dominant Lakers teams from the Shaq/Kobe era, where they would sag a little near the end of the regular season to save their energy for the postseason.

It looks like Miami’s primary focus is to enter the NBA Playoffs healthy and hungry, even it sacrificed a playoff seed in the Eastern Conference in the process.

Regardless, this game should be a classic. Indiana has plenty to prove to itself and everyone else, while Miami will want to set the tone in a conference that it believes is ripe for the taking. With a huge game, LeBron could really get in the heads of the Pacers, whether they’d admit it or not.

All this doom and gloom about the Pacers, and they’re still a half-game up on Miami in the standings. Pretty crazy right? It is a testament to how good Indiana was in the first half of the 2013-14 campaign.

However, if the Pacers don’t re-assemble into something effective on both ends of the court, they will be ousted from the upcoming playoffs, if not by Miami than by a frisky “Cinderella” team in an earlier round.

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Even though the postseason hasn’t started, there is a lot at stake in South Beach on Friday night. I think the Heat are going to send Indiana back to the Midwest with more questions to answer.

Miami 99, Indiana 92

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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