Eastern Conference Finals: Game 6 – Indiana at Miami
Eric Roberts 2013-05-31 in SBO Weekly
NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals: Game 6 – Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
Topbet: Miami Heat -3 (-110) at Indiana Pacers (+3) -110
TV: June 1st, 8:30 EDT TNT Series: Miami Leads 3-2
The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers meet again in a must-win game for the Pacers to keep their Eastern Conference and World Championship hopes alive.
The Heat took Game 5 in Miami on Thursday evening, winning 90-79 on their home floor and covering the Miami -7.5 number. LeBron James’ dominant performance proved to the difference in the game.
The Pacers led by four points leading going into the half and looked to be in terrific shape to give Miami a fight to the finish on their home floor. However, the third quarter would prove to be too much to overcome as the Heat outscored the pacers 30-13 in the period.
One of the key notes to take away from this game is the defensive switch up on Roy Hibbert. He looked to be his normal self in the first half, grabbing boards and scoring in double digits, but the second half proved to be much more difficult for the resurgent big man.
Udonis Haslem, not Chris Bosh guarded Hibbert in Game 5. He did a much better job on him and limited him to 6 total rebounds and forced him into three turnovers.
LeBron was masterful as usual, shooting 13 for 26 from the field for 30 points and notching 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Haslem chipped in offensively as well, hitting 8 of 9 shots from the field for 16 points.
Surprisingly, Paul George had his best game of the season in the Pacers’ loss, scoring 27, grabbing 11 boards and 5 assists. He got some help from Hibbert and David West, but the Pacers guards were a terrible 2 for 13 from the field. George Hill and Lance Stephenson had their worst games of the playoffs, combing for 5 points on 2 of 11 shooting.
At this point, these teams know each other so well nothing will be new in Game 6. Everything will come down to execution, and that is something that both of these squads can do extremely well.
The Heat have been more turnover prone in the series, but Indiana turned the ball over a series high 17 times in the Game 5 loss. Protecting the ball and playing tough defense will be paramount in the rest of this series, because it fundamentally comes down to which team does their thing the best.
Indiana’s home crowd is an impressive presence and the Pacers feed off their energy. Players like Lance Stephenson genuinely seem to come alive at home and become a force in the games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers played excellent in the first half of Game 5 but just fell apart in the second half, at home I doubt they make this mistake.
In our opinion, Frank Vogel is a better tactician and motivator than Spoelstra and will make sure that his team is playing their best and hustling their hardest. He will revisit the tactical side, as well and put his players in the best position to win.
Ultimately, we believe the Pacers will force the Heat into a Game 7 in Miami. The home crowd and overall depth of the Pacers starting lineup are too much for the Heat to handle on most nights. LeBron needs to have a monster game every time out to beat Indiana. Kudos to him if he does it every night, but when he’s played even slightly below his superstar level – the Pacers have won.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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