(photo by: articles.latimes.com)
The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are going to begin their highly anticipated series on Wednesday at 8:30 ET. These two teams are very solid on both ends of the floor and a ton of talent and determination will be on display during the series. Indiana and Miami participated in some great games in the regular season. Surprisingly, Indiana took the regular season series by a count of 2-1. LeBron and the Heat look to repeat as Eastern Conference champions but they know that the Pacers are not going to just lay down to Miami, no matter how tall the task seems.
Miami and Indiana met each other in the 2012 Playoffs as well. Indiana took a 2-1 lead and it seemed as if they were going to upset Miami. However, King James took the series over and led Miami past Indiana in game 6. This year, the Pacers are going to try to fight and claw their way to victory and we have all become accustomed to how hard the Heat play in these must-win playoff situations. Both teams have acquired some new additions and improved players since last season’s playoff meeting, so the intensity should be raised up a couple of notches!
There are a couple of key matchups to look at in this series. First, LeBron James and Paul George will be guarding each other. James is averaging 24 points, 7.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals during the postseason. On the other hand, George’s playoff averages are 19.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals. It is quite evident from the statistics that James and George are like Swiss army knives for their teams in terms of being all-around players. By no means is Paul George as good as LeBron James but he will try his best to make it hard for LeBron. The second key matchup is the battle in the paint between the big men on both teams. Miami is undersized and is a notoriously bad rebounding team. However, Indiana possesses two disciplined big men in Roy Hibbert and David West down low. Chris Bosh will definitely score some points but it is not certain on whether or not he can handle the physicality of Indiana.
Miami gets to start the series off at home but the Pacers won’t back down from the challenge on the road. Both teams have been virtually unbeatable at home, so if Indiana can steal a game while in Miami, they might stand a good chance of pulling off a shocking upset. Nevertheless, Miami is loaded and has a multitude of firepower that can help get them past Indiana. The Heat and Pacers are somewhat similar teams because they lock up defensively and play great team basketball but the difference between these two impressive squads is that one team has the best player in the world(LeBron James) and the other has a rising superstar(Paul George) with a reliable supporting cast. It will be interesting to see who will earn the right to call themselves the best in the East.