NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers

NBA Eastern Conference Finals:  Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers

This series has been interesting to say the least but despite the fact that the Pacers have won two games and at times completely outplayed the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat are on the brink of eliminating Indiana and advancing to the NBA Finals. The Heat will take a 3-2 series advantage into Indianapolis on Saturday looking to put away the plucky Pacers and move on to their matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.

When they play their ‘A Game’ there’s little doubt that Miami is the best team in the NBA but that’s the problem–they’ve got a maddening tendency to lose focus and play without intensity. Game 5 was a classic example–Indiana opened the game strong and scored the first eleven points of the contest. They were competitive throughout the first half before Miami got ‘in to’ the game and completely obliterated the Pacers in the second half behind a MVP like effort from LeBron James. If the Heat approach this game with the proper mindset and turn in a 48 minute effort they’ll win–and cover–going away. But can they be trusted to do that?

Indiana has been a very good investment this year coming off a lopsided loss. After a loss of ten or more points the Pacers are 14-5 SU/ATS and have covered three of the five games of this series including a Game 1 loss/cover. At the same time Miami is a very confident and successful road team going 29-18 ATS away from South Florida. The Pacers are strong at home but the Heat are certainly not a team that is going to wilt in an inhospitable venue.

With the San Antonio Spurs waiting–and resting–and following an uneven Game 5 effort we’ll take a shot on the Miami Heat. Certainly they should feel some urgency from the fact that San Antonio won their Conference Final series via a sweep and will in theory be mentally and physically rested for a prospective date in the Finals. True, that implies that the Heat are ‘looking past’ a very good Pacers team but the realization that they’re on the cusp of another NBA Championship–a goal they can reach with a satisfactory level of effort and intensity–might be just what this erratic but talented team needs to close out Indiana here.