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Elimination Game Pressure Greets The Eastern Conference Finals

Posted by Don Melrose on 5/30/2013 7:57:47 PM

The Eastern Conference Finals continue while the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs sit back and relax. We’ll see if this series ends or moves to Game 7.

Eastern Conference Finals, Game 6:
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers – Saturday, June 1

A sound sports bet will probably be able to make a strong case for the Pacers in this specific game, even though Indiana is an obvious underdog in the whole series. When sports betting practitioners size up this tilt, they will have good reasons to lean to Indiana.
First, though, let’s acknowledge that there’s an argument to be made for Miami. While Indiana has controlled the style of play for most of the first four games of this series, the Pacers have not been able to take the lead in this best-of-seven clash. Miami does not look or feel like a team that’s on the run. The Heat punched and counterpunched in Game 4 of this series, trading blows in what was a very even contest. Miami led by three points, 89-86, inside the four-minute mark of regulation.

The Heat simply didn’t make enough game-closing plays. LeBron James fouled out in the final minute of regulation, while Dwyane Wade was called for traveling in the final minute as well. A lot of bad breaks went against the Heat, and the odds are low that more misfortune will plague the defending champions in the closing stretch of this series. LeBron knows how to bring down the hammer, and Indiana – while admirably competitive – does not know what it feels like to drive the stake in Miami’s heart… or make the NBA Finals. No one on this Indiana roster has been a starter on an NBA Finals team. The Heat’s battle-tested identity is going to be a very important asset for them in this situation.

However, for all the experience the Heat might possess, Indiana will be playing at home with every reason to be confident. The Pacers did take a 2-1 lead on Miami in the playoffs a year ago, but as soon as Miami figured out Indiana in Game 4 of that series, the Pacers faded away. Don’t expect the same narrative to unfold this time.

As you saw in Game 4 of this series on Tuesday night, Indiana big man Roy Hibbert is a force in the paint that Miami cannot consistently contain. Teammate David West also gives Indiana the kind of heft and savvy in the paint that can really bother Miami, a team that doesn’t always protect the backboard. Miami forward Chris Bosh, a vital part of the Heat’s roster, has been thoroughly outplayed by Hibbert and West all series long, a big reason the Pacers have dictated the terms on which this series has been contested through the first four games. Bosh is long, but he’s not as long as Hibbert, and his lack of brawn leaves him vulnerable to the blue-collar strength of West and the imposing size of Hibbert.

An MMA betting specialist would easily be able to see that Indiana is throwing and landing more punches in this series. The weakness of Bosh has made it very hard for Miami to stay with Indiana on the glass. Indiana won the rebounding battle in Game 4 by a 49-30 margin, snapping up a series of offensive rebounds and translating them into second-chance points in the fourth quarter. That was the difference in Game 4.

Indiana is getting more of its players to play well than Miami is. LeBron James can’t win this series by himself; he needs help, and he has not been getting much of it. Indiana is playing better team basketball, and that’s why the Pacers deserve to be installed as the favorite in Game 6.

NBA Betting Pick: Indiana


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