June 3, 2013 at 4:39 PM #52278
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Indiana Pacers (3-3) at Miami Heat (3-3)
Monday, June 3
American Airlines Arena, Miami
8:30 p.m. EST
Spread – Heat -7
O/U – 180.5
For the second season in a row the Miami Heat are faced with an Eastern Conference championship game against a not-as-good opponent. Last year they took care of the Celtics in Game 7 at home. This time it’s the Indiana Pacers, who appear neither intimidated nor all that impressed with the Heat.
And why should they be?
Miami has been reduced to a one-man team, and that one man is now being forced to beg the officials for calls.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. For three years LeBron James has been happy to facilitate, taking over games only when necessary.
But with Dwyane Wade nursing a bum knee, Chris Bosh avoiding the paint like it was lead-based chips and Ray Allen forgetting how to shoot 3s, it’s clear that if Miami is to get a chance to defend its title and earn a spot in The Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, James will have to get much of the job done himself.
The Pacers have already won in Miami, and figure they should have two Ws. They look at the stats from their Game 6 win and see that when James was on the court, the Pacers outscored the Heat by 22 points. Amazing.
Indiana knows that Miami has no answer for the Pacers’ powerful front line. Joel Anthony was brought out of cold storage on Saturday to keep things sane while Chris Andersen served a suspension, but even Andersen has problems with 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert. Hibbert has averaged 23 points and 9 rebounds in the three games in Miami, and barring foul trouble should put up similar numbers tonight.
It all adds up to trouble for the Heat, who were outrebounded by an enormous 53-33 margin in Game 6 and were unable to overcome a 44-22 deficit in points in the paint.
Then there’s Paul George, who fills up the stat sheet on a regular basis and has shown no indication that he is ready to cede an inch of hardwood to James. George has the size (6-8) and shooting range to force LBJ to defend from the hoop to the perimeter.
If you’re a cynic like me, you’ll expect a huge disparity in fouls as the NBA desperately tries to keep its No. 1 star on television for another week or two. Would not recommend an Indiana money line play, but 7 is a lot of points to give to a team that has a huge size advantage and has won two of the last three games. Indiana plus the points is the play. Totals players should be able to cash on the over. Miami plays 94-foot games at home and will be more inclined to push the ball after getting croaked by the Pacers’ half-court game on Saturday.
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