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LeBron, Heat Set To Clash With Pacers; Thunder Headed To San Antonio As NBA Final Four Gets Underway

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/16/2014 10:58:10 PM

After a pretty interesting ride throughout the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs, it turns out we got the conference finals matchups most people expected after all. That is particularly true in the Eastern Conference, where the Indiana Pacers were able to do just enough to earn themselves a shot at the Miami Heat with a NBA Finals berth on the line for the second-straight season.

Eastern Conference Final – Game 1

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

Sunday, 3:30 PM ET

LeBron James and the Heat had no problems blowing past the Charlotte Bobcats and Brooklyn Nets through the first two rounds, with an emphasis on getting the job done quickly and efficiently as they make a potential third-straight title run. Meanwhile, the Pacers struggled against both the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks and fifth-seeded Washington Wizards on their second-straight conference finals, but there are still major question marks about which team will show up this round. Roy Hibbert has been a stud on some nights, then a detriment on others. Paul George hasn’t played like the superstar he has been touted as. David West has been hot and cold. All of this adds up to a lot of uncertainty for this Indiana team. On the other hand, Miami continues to dominate, and there is no reason to think they won’t get the job done in game one. The Heat is getting contributions from throughout its lineup, and is playing with a sense of urgency that we simply haven’t consistently seen from the Pacers throughout these playoffs.

NBA Betting Pick: Miami Heat

The Oklahoma City Thunder was on the right side of a few bounces in each of the first two playoff-rounds. They don’t need many to get the job done. The Thunder overcame a couple of double-digit deficits to close out the Los Angeles Clippers in six games, and while the officiating came in to question at times throughout the series, Oklahoma City has booked its spot against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Western Conference Final – Game 1

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs

Monday, 9:00 PM ET

The Thunder had the good fortune of a Mike Conley injury, Zach Randolph suspension, and a couple of lucky bounces in their seven-game series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Then came a number of egregious calls and fortuitous bounces in game five against the Clippers, leading to a blow up from Los Angeles head coach Doc Rivers, and a game six letdown that made Oklahoma City look like a team of destiny. Kevin Durant followed up a slow start by exploding for a game-high 39 points and 16 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook played most of the series like a cold killer, incapable of feeling the pressure of any moment. That tandem will have it much tougher against Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and the Spurs, and they won’t be able to afford the mental mistakes that led to them facing so many double-digit deficits against the Clippers. The Spurs are at their best at home in San Antonio, so look for them to do everything they can to slow down Durant and try to make the rest of the Thunder beat them. San Antonio has the edge in experience, coaching, and depth, and those three things will be key in game one.

NBA Betting Pick: San Antonio Spurs

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