Monday, May 19, 2014

Eastern Conference Finals: Game 2

In case you didn't know, the Indiana Pacers crushed the Miami Heat, 107-96, on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Tonight is a critical game for Miami. If they drop down 2-0, then they'll need to win both of their games in Miami, something that has not happened in a playoff series against Indiana in the I-Was-A-Heat-"Fan"-Before-Lebron era. 

Two years ago these teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Heat as the #2 seed and Pacers as the #3 seed. After winning game 1, the Heat dropped games 2 and 3, before winning three straight games and taking the series, 4-2. Then the next year, they narrowly defeated the #3 seeded Pacers in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Overall, in their playoff series' against each other, the Heat have gone 4-2 at home. 

So falling back 2-0 in this series would be a potentially series-ending blow, because the odds are that they're not going to win both of their games in Miami. With that said, Indiana is not going to shoot 51.5 percent from the field in Game 2, and they're most certainly not going to have over twice as many free-throws than the Heat in Game 2. 

One of the underrated reasons why the Pacers won Game 1 so easily: ball-hog Forward Evan Turner was out with strep throat. Veteran Rasual Butler played some of Turner's minutes, but it really opened things up for Guard Lance Stephenson to be the primary ball-handler and orchestrate the offense for the second-unit much like he did during the team's red-hot first-half of the season. It seems as if the Pacers are better without Turner. The only problem is, if Indiana benches Turner completely, it will result in Turner becoming a locker-room cancer to a team that cannot afford any distractions. I expect Lebron James to put up 35+ points Tuesday night, and the Heat to go back to Miami tied up 1-1. 
Prediction: Pacers 82-87 Heat 

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