NBA Playoffs Betting: Pacers at Heat

NBA Playoffs Betting: Pacers at Heat

Paul George single-handedly carried the Pacers to victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, dropping 37 points and notching 6 steals. His performance coupled with LeBron James’ worst career playoff effort was enough for Indiana to extend their season for at least one more game. The task for the Pacers gets more difficult on Friday night as they look to defeat the Heat in South Beach, which they failed to do in Games 3 and 4. Can George deliver in the clutch once again? Will James bounce back from a dreadful outing? Does Indiana have the confidence to win on the road against the two-time defending champs? Here’s a breakdown of the night’s matchup.

INDIANA AT MIAMI -7.5

The Pacers continue to be an enigma in 2014. Some games they look like the best team in the league, playing stifling defense and shooting at a high percentage. Other games they struggle to do anything right. Game 5 was good Indiana on display; they won the battle of the boards, committed just 16 fouls, and turned the ball over only 12 times. The problem is getting that same Pacers squad to show up two games in a row. They can’t count on George scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter, or LeBron totaling a pathetic 7 points on 2-10 shooting every night. Needing something out of the ordinary seems to be Indiana’s formula for success.

LeBron rarely has bad games, let alone awful ones like he had in Game 5. He was whistled for his fifth foul minutes into the second half on Wednesday, and never got into a groove from the start. Assuming a repeat performance would be foolish. An angry James is not what Indiana wants to see in a game they must win. On a brighter note, Chris Bosh posted a second straight quality effort, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. If he can do it again and LeBron reverses his fortunes as expected, the Heat might be unbeatable. The Pacers need both David West and Roy Hibbert to be factors to have any chance of forcing a Game 7.

Considering that James was invisible in Game 5, Miami only lost by three. Ray Allen hit for 15 and Rashard Lewis (yes, he’s still alive) added 18 on 6-9 from beyond the arc. If James has just an average game, and Paul George misses a couple jumpers down the stretch, this series would be over. Miami has been in this position multiple times over the last four years and are fully aware what it takes to put a team away. Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last five home tilts. Pacers are 1-5 ATS in their last six trips to America Airlines Arena. This is a lot of points, but Indiana poked a bear named LeBron in Game 5, which will ultimately be their undoing.

Bet Miami -7.5