Can the Pacers Really Beat the Heat Over 7 Game Series?


Thanks to Scott Kim for this submission on the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat conference finals. This series got a lot more interesting with Indiana’s fine play in Game 1. Can they keep it up?

All season long, everyone was looking forward to an Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat. The two teams were far and away the best in the conference, and the series was a classic in 2013.

After a dominating Game 1 performance by Indiana, the question remains: can they really put the Heat away? By now, everyone knows what Miami brings to the table. They have the most versatile fantasy basketball player in the world in Lebron James, not to mention a great set of complimentary stars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The role players have played well so far in the playoffs, helping Miami to routine series wins over Charlotte and Brooklyn. Indiana had their own fantasy basketball stars during most of the regular season, as Paul George, Roy Hibbert, Lance Stephenson and David West all played extremely well.

However, things took a turn after the All-Star break. George couldn’t knock down shots, Hibbert played like he was hurt and Stephenson/West were both inconsistent. During the first game of the series, Indiana as a whole took control of the game and controlled the pace the whole way. They led from end to end and were never really challenged. If we’ve learned anything about LeBron James over the past few years, it’s that he won’t go down without an epic fight.

While Indiana likely won’t be able to coast through Miami like they did in Game 1, the formula for success has been laid out. Paul George needs to keep playing like a man possessed and at least cancel out Lebron’s greatness. West and Hibbert need to keep Wade from doing too much damage in the paint, all the while silencing Chris Bosh on the offensive and defensive ends. If Indiana can do that, they’ve got a real chance to take down the Heat on their way to the NBA Finals.

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