Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
The Miami Heat continue their quest to become NBA Champions as they open their series against the Indiana Pacers today in Miami. The Heat are -8.5 point favorites over the Pacers with an over/under point total set 188.5.
The Miami Heat came into the playoffs as the number two seed in the Eastern Conference but with the Chicago Bulls being eliminated they now have the home court advantage. While the Heat made quick work of the Knicks in their opening playoff series they know that the Pacers are going to be a much stiffer test. Miami is averaging 98.4 points per game while defensively they allow 91.8 points a game, well below the NBA average of 96 points and as always it is defense which separates the good from the great. The Heat are shooting 36 percent from beyond the three point arc and 77.3 percent from the free throw line and grabbing 41.4 rebounds per game. The starters are averaging 77.4 points led by LeBron James at 27.8 points per game, Dwayne Wade at 21 points per game, and Chris Bosh at 15 points per game. The Heat know full well that stats and wins are all nice but what truly will define this team is championships.
The Indiana Pacers aren’t going to be a pushover for the Heat and if they don’t win this series outright they should provide a very stiff test. The Pacers demolished the Orlando Magic in the opening round and are well rested for this series. For the season the Pacers average 97.5 points per game while allowing 93.7 points. As a team Indiana shoots 43.9 percent from the floor but they hit 36.5 percent of their three pointers and 78.2 percent of their free throws while grabbing 44.1 boards per game. The starters score 67.3 points per game led by Danny Granger at 21.4 points per game, David West at 15.8 points per game, George Hill at 14.2 points per game, and Roy Hibbert pitching in 11 points and grabbing 10.8 rebounds. Indiana is the type of team that gives other teams problems but will they create enough problems for the Heat to win this series and this game, that is the bigger question.
Miami is 4-0 against the spread in their last four home games, 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as a favorite, and 4-1 against the spread in their last five conference semifinals. Indiana is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games on three days or more of rest, 4-1 against the spread in their last five games as an underdog, and 2-8-1 against the spread I their last 11 conference semifinals. The underdog is 24-9-1 against the spread in the last 34 meetings of these two and the road team has covered in six of the last eight meetings.
Miami is a good team but haven’t proved themselves to be great though they have two of the greatest players in the history of the game with James and Wade. The Pacers are going to play tough here and if they don’t win outright they are not going to make it comfortable for Miami and look for the Pacers to get a cover at worst.
Indiana Pacers +8.5 Miami Heat