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Eastern Conference Finals:
No. 1 Indiana Pacers (56-26) vs. No. 2 Miami Heat (54-28)
Here we are. Eastern Conference Finals. We see the #1 and #2 seed teams head to head. For the Pacers this means a chance to get another Conference Title. The first and last one they won was 14 years ago. And for the Heat this means a chance at a possible 3-peat. The Heat-Pacers series was tied at 2-2 in the regular season. The Big 3 of the Miami Heat are going up against big star calibre names such as Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson. It will be interesting to see how this series will play out.
Road to the Conference Finals:
The Heat started off the NBA Playoffs by sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats (no surprises here). Despite the Bobcats biggest efforts they couldn’t stop the likes of 4-time MVP LeBron James, arguably the best player in the NBA today and of all time. Then came the Brooklyn Nets, previously struggling through a tough 7-game series against the Toronto Raptors. The Nets Sweeping the Heat 4-0 in the regluar season, many thought that if anyone was to beat the Heat it was the Nets. But what many failed to consider is the Heat’s timely post-season play. With a healthy Dwyane Wade the Heat would seem utterly unbeatable and can show why they won the last two Championships. The Heat started the Conference semi-finals with 2 wins straight up against the Nets. Jason Kidd had finally, had enough and made some changes to the Nets defensive and offensive strategies as the Nets finally beat the Heat to make the series 2-1. Dwyane Wade used some trash talking to try and get a fight from the Nets. Wade’s tactics worked with the Heat beating the Nets again. Paul Pierce said to Jason Kidd that “[he] knows LeBron, that, [he knows] his tactics”, but really can anyone predict what LeBron is going to do? Peirce’s wishes were granted with Kidd placing Peirce on LeBron, but he was no match. The Heat won the series 4-1.
How Heat will win?
The Miami Heat have a very good chance at beating the Pacers who had two tough 6 and 7 game series against the Wizards and the Hawks respectively. The Heat are “healthy” and the Pacers are tired. With the all star Roy Hibbert under-performing, the Pacers are going to need to look to him to step up otherwise the load that West, George and Stephenson will have to carry would be too much against the amount of weapons the Miami Heat have. The Heat are going to need to rely on the big three plus Ray Allen to play to the best of their ability to sweep the Pacers. Nevertheless the Heat need to rely on the whole team to not make many mistakes and to not turn the ball over. A 4-0 series isn’t out of the question.
Obviously LeBron is a weapon but you can’t forget the likes of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem. Overall the Heat are fairly deep and have a fair bench.
The High intensity play will favour the Heat just tiring out the Pacers. LeBron James’s Flawless Defence will have to be at it’s utmost to stop the up and coming Paul George. Dwayne Wade will also have to key down on Lance Stevenson, and Chris Bosh will have to watch Roy Hibbert whose come back is inevitable.
Heat don’t have much weakness but the ones they do have are big, some of the Heat’s players aren’t highly regarded at all as ‘good’ players and as the series is stretched to a 6 or 7 game series the Heat will need to put these players on the court, which can and will hinder them. The Heat can only hope that the Pacers are going to be tired as well. The tall ball aspect of the game is one that the Pacers can play, and with the Heat sporting a small lineup, the likes of Scola, West and Hibbert can prove dominating in the front court. Dwyane Wade is Getting on and is a shadow of his former self, his recurring injuries might hinder the Heat’s hopes at winning this series.
How will Heat Lose:
Heat are arguably the best team in the league at the moment, and the only way I can see them losing is if Roy Hibbert steps up and takes control of the game, also if Paul George performs at his highest where it counts the most, and if the Pacers can stretch the series out it will drag out Heat’s lesser players. The Pacers have a sliver of a chance to beat the Heat, but a chance is still a chance.
Key Match ups:
LeBron James v. Paul George
King James v. The Kid.
LeBron will most probably win this matchup due to his great defence and unpredictable and unstoppable offence. Paul George will have to pull one out of the bag if he wants to win this matchup.
Dwayne Wade v. Lance Stephenson
Dwayne Wade is one of the best Shooting Guards still in today’s game, no argument. But with Lance Stevenson rising in the ranks D-Wade will have to keep up his amazing perimeter defence, along with his explosiveness on the fastbreak, to tire out Lance Stevenson. Lance Stephenson will have to keep up his inside game to throw Wade off, if he has a chance to beat him.
Chris Bosh v. Roy Hibbert
Bosh is no doubt one of the best Centers in the game but so is Hibbert. Hibbert has 3 inches on Bosh and outweighs him by a fair bit. But with Hibberts recent string of performances his hopes of Beating bosh are slim. If Hibbert can wake up and perform at his all-star calibre, he will out muscle Bosh and prove that the Pacers aren’t out of the picture yet. What Bosh needs to do is play fast ball and shoot the ball like very few Centers have the ability to do. If Bosh can drag out Hibbert with his 3-point shot it will leave the middle open for the likes of LeBron and Wade.
Predictions and why.
I believe the Heat will win this series 4-2. The Pacers will have to perform to get, at least, two wins, but with the tired roster playing a magnificent team the chance at winning is small. The Heat will rely on LeBron, Wade and Bosh to pull them through to a 3rd consecutive Finals appearance, the Heats 5th Finals appearance.
Thankyou, Faithful Basketball Fans