Heat Poised for Another Finals Appearance
Coming into the Eastern Conference Finals series, the first seeded Pacers were considered the underdog. Now we see why. Even with obstacles of their own, Miami has outplayed the Pacers on every level.
This evening might just finish off the Pacers impressive season, and send Miami to yet another NBA Finals.
LeBron has been playing absolutely out of his mind, dropping 32 points and 10 rebounds in game 4. Let this be proof for Lance Stephenson to quiet his mouth for a while. LeBron has heard all the naysayers by now.
At one point during the NBA regular season, the Pacers looked like the hottest team in the league. Many even favored them over Miami, even in the playoffs.
This simply has not been the type of postseason any Pacer fan or coach wants from their team. While winning the first two rounds, the Pacers have been lacking their usual spunk and crispness.
The team looks worn out and sluggish. Most people predicted these two teams to be playing each other in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, most people did not expect such a lackluster performance out of the Pacer unit. It does not look like the nation will get that 6 or 7 game series out of these two.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another for Indiana.
In game 4, Lance Stephenson’s trash talk on the court looked to only fuel the fire in James’ heart. That story falls on the backburner though. Roy Hibbert did not exactly help his squad out, dropping a goose egg in game 4.
This game in Miami featured two of the main themes people are beginning to pick up on in Indiana: Lance’s mouth and Roy’s inability to make an impact in the postseason. Both of these issues continue to plague Indiana round after round.
Others might point back to game 2 in Indianapolis. While holding a respectable lead over the champs, the Pacers completely gave up a much needed home win in the final minutes. The last minute loss was only cursed more with the concussion of Paul George. If it were not for the long break between games 2 and 3, George may not have been cleared for game 3 in Miami.
Give Miami credit though. The champs have clearly been the more consistent team this postseason. With only two losses so far in three rounds, the Heat look poised for the Finals.
There is no realistic reason to assume the Pacers can dig themselves out of this 3-1 hole. They may have one more win in their pocket, but even that idea is a stretch.
It is amazing to watch how LeBron’s play continues to mature each year and each playoff round. James and the Heat clearly have opponents on their heels and feeling uncomfortable. Keep in mind, this Heat team is dangerous even with the struggles of Birdman and Bosh. If those two can come out strong in the NBA Finals, Oklahoma City or San Antonio will have their hands full.
Looking forward, it would be in the best interest of the Heat to matchup with the Spurs in the Finals. They have proven that they can defend and control the Spurs with the game on the line and in intense settings.
Oklahoma City is making a stronger case for the Finals spot with the recent return of Ibaka though. It will be fun to see how that round plays out.
As for tonight, I would not expect a blowout. But we have reached a point in this series where both Indiana and Miami recognize who the better team is.