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After Escaping The Pacers In Game 1, The Heat Look To Improve In Game 2

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/23/2013 7:24:39 PM

For the Miami Heat, the ability to win on a night when so many things went wrong should give the defending NBA champions a lot of confidence as the Eastern Conference Finals continue.

Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2:
Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat – Friday, May 24
Sportsbook line: Miami -7

A sound sports bet generally involves the ability to weigh competing factors and forces. For any MMA betting observer who doesn’t get to see a lot of NBA playoff action, it’s certainly clear that Miami lived dangerously in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday. Will this carry over into Game 2 or not?

A sport betting play can certainly be made in either direction in Game 2, but the action should probably flow to the Pacers, even though they’re down in this series. Basketball observers were able to see in Game 1 just how evenly matched these teams really are. This series does not feel like a quick Miami win in five games. Indiana’s defense forced 21 turnovers from Miami in Game 1. The Pacers used the rim-protecting defense of big man Roy Hibbert to keep LeBron James out of the paint for most of the game, forcing Miami into a lot of jump shots that the Heat did not make.

This, however, is precisely what makes the decision of Indiana head coach Frank Vogel to take Hibbert out of the game in the final minute of overtime that much more baffling. Hibbert would have forced LeBron to make tougher shots – or perhaps a pair of free throws – on Miami’s final pair of possessions. However, with Hibbert out of the lineup in favor of Sam Young – a conspicuously mediocre defender – Indiana’s defense lost both quality and size. Vogel cost his team a chance to win. He didn’t necessarily cost his team the game, but he did not put his players in the best position to succeed.

In Game 2, Indiana could very well be mentally burdened by its Game 1 failure. The Pacers could lose confidence and trust in their coach and in their way of proceeding. Miami could also shrug off the rust from Game 1 – played after a six-day layoff, similar to the seven-day layoff which preceded the Heat’s second-round playoff series against Chicago. The Heat could be much sharper in Game 2 than they were in Game 1. This is a very possible and realistic scenario. It’s something Indiana needs to guard against. Will the Pacers be able to respond appropriately?

The Pacers will look at Game 1 and identify a few areas in which they need to improve: First, they must cut down their turnovers. A total of 20 in Game 1 is way too high. Second, Indiana must get more scoring from point guard George Hill. Miami point guard Mario Chalmers injured his shoulder in this game. Hill should be able to beat either a weakened Chalmers or a healthy Norris Cole (Chalmers’ backup). Third, Indiana has to limit the effectiveness of Miami forward Chris Andersen, who scored 16 points in Game 1 on 7-of-7 field goal shooting plus two foul shots. Andersen’s seven made field goals were dunks, layups or tip-ins.

Realistically, everything Indiana needs to do in Game 2 is very achievable. The Pacers are a determined team, and they will indeed even this series at 1-1 on Friday night.

NBA Betting Pick: Indiana

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