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Miami Tries To Finish Off Indiana In Six Games For The Second Straight Year

Posted by Craig Parsons on 6/2/2013 7:17:44 PM

The Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers in six games in the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals. The Heat can now beat the Pacers in six in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals.

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

In online poker games that unfold in your own home, the luck of the draw is involved. In a best-of-seven-game playoff series, some luck is involved, but teams generally assert their superiority at some point. The Miami Heat did this in the third quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, outscoring Indiana by a 30-13 margin to turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 13-point lead and an eventual victory. Jared Wade of the 8 Points, 9 Seconds Indiana Pacer blog – writing just after Game 5 ended on Thursday night – detailed just how poorly the Pacers played in the third quarter:

“They made just 3-of-14 shots (21.4%) while committing 5 turnovers (that led to 9 Heat points). (George) Hill’s foul trouble was a factor. He was forced to sit for nearly 7 minutes in the period, and D.J. Augustin added no production nor ran the offense well while on the floor. But that poor execution was the difference. Given LeBron’s domination and Miami’s hot shooting in the quarter, it’s doubtful the Pacers end the third ahead no matter how well they run their offense. But by completely falling apart, they gave themselves no chance to survive the MVP’s onslaught. He was that good. Indiana’s offense was that bad.

“Moving backwards, you have to like what the Pacers did in half one. Indiana’s frontcourt combined for 39 points on just 28 shots in the first 24 minutes. They were getting the looks they wanted and were in control of the game. Had a few more layups gone down — Indiana shot 6-for-15 in the restricted area in quarters one and two — they could have gone into the break up by double digits. But they didn’t. And that left the door open for LeBron to do his thing.”

Legal online sports betting commentators would probably say that this is not a series in which Miami has taken full control. Even the ranks of online football betting gurus who don’t devote most of their attention to the NBA season will gravitate to the idea that Game 5 was more about Indiana faltering than Miami rising. Yes, LeBron certainly rose to the moment, as did forward Udonis Haslem, who hit eight of nine shots for the second time in the past three games of the series to give the Heat a vital contribution from a role player. However, Indiana still held Miami to 90 points. The Pacers should expect to win under such circumstances. Yet, they didn’t even come close.

Indiana played its worst game of the series in Game 5, even worse than Game 3 on Sunday. In Game 3, Miami played its best game of the series and was basically untouchable. Game 5 was another matter. Miami got just 10 points from a slow and impotent Dwyane Wade plus a mere seven points from an ineffective Chris Bosh, who was hampered by an ankle injury that is still bothering him. Indiana had Miami in a vulnerable position, but the Pacers got a grand total of just five points from their two starting guards, George Hill (one point) and Lance Stephenson (four points). If Hill and Stephenson had both managed to score a modest nine points apiece (for a total of 18), Indiana would have scored 92 points and possibly won. Instead, the Pacers ended up with 79.

Miami remains the favorite in the series, but Hill and Stephenson are not likely to stumble the way they did in Game 5. With Wade and Bosh still struggling, this feels like a game in which Indiana will regroup… and force Game 7 in Miami on Monday.

NBA Betting Pick: Indiana

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