NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game #6: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers

2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Finals Game #6
#1 Miami Heat at #3 Indiana Pacers
Heat lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Saturday, June 1, 2013, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Indiana
Opening Line: Miami -2
Current Line: Miami -2 1/2
Opening Total: 182
Current Total: 183
Opening Money Line: Heat -135 / Pacers +115
Current Money Line: Heat -145 / Pacers +125

Roy Hibbert will have to be dominant if the Pacers are to force a game 7 against the Heat.

Roy Hibbert will have to be dominant if the Pacers are to force a game 7 against the Heat.

By definition, Game #6 in a seven game series is an elimination game for someone as a team has to be up 3-2 in order for game 6 to happen. LeBron James made sure it wouldn’t be his Miami Heat team on the verge of elimination with another incredible performance in a long line of incredible performances for the best player in the world in game 5 Thursday night. The Heat and Indiana Pacers had split the first 4 games of the series with each winning a game on the other’s home court. Miami won game one 103-102 in overtime on a LeBron driving lay-up at the buzzer. The Pacers would take game two 97-93. Miami regained homecourt with a 114-96 dismantling in game 3 in Indianapolis. The Pacers would tie it up with a 99-92 victory, in a game that saw LeBron James foul out for only the second time in a playoff game in his career.

In game five, the Heat strangely came out lacking energy and focus in a seemingly must win game as a loss would have put them close to elimination with game six on the road. The Pacers would jump out to a 15-9 lead despite missing multiple lay-ups and shots inside 3 feet. In a very lackluster first half for the Heat, the highlight might have been Heat forward Chris Anderson and  Pacers’ forward Tyler Hansbrough getting into a physical confrontation early in the second. Andersen shoved Hansbrough and both were called for techs. Andersen was also assessed a flagrant one foul. The league would later review the altercation and upgrade it to a flagrant two which means Andersen will be suspended for game six. Indiana would take a 44-40 lead into halftime.

At the beginning of the third quarter, TNT showed a fired up LeBron berating his teammates for their lack of effort in the first half. James would back up his talk with arguably one of the greatest quarters in NBA playoff history. The Pacers expanded the lead to 46-40 early in the quarter. From that point on, LeBron would dominate on both ends of the court. James would score 16 of his 30 points in the third. He scored or assisted on 25 of Miami’s 30 points in the quarter. James would make 7 of his 10 field goals in the quarter, and would also have 4 rebounds and 4 assists. James got some help from forward Udonis Haslem as the two combined to score 18 of the team’s last 21 points in the third quarter. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were both struggling, so James had to have help from someone. by the end of the of the quarter Miami would outscore the Pacers 30-13 to take a 70-57 lead going into the fourth. Indiana would never really threaten in the fourth and the Heat would take the 90-79 win. Teams winning game five of a best of seven series tied 2-2 have won 83% of those series in NBA history.

James would have 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block to go along with his 30 points. Haslem finished with 16 points on 8 of 9 from the field. Point guard Mario Chalmers scored 12 points and added 6 assists. Wade had 10 points on 3 for 8 shooting and added 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Bosh scored 7 points on 3 for 7 shooting and added 5 rebounds. Both Wade (bruised knee bone) and Bosh (ankle) are battling injuries and have struggled throughout the series. Ray Allen also added 7 points off the bench along with 4 rebounds. Andersen went 2 for 2 from the field to continue his streak of not missing a shot in the series so far.

The Pacers shot 44.9% from the field but 17 turnovers doomed them. Indiana only had one more rebound than Miami in game 5 after being +19 in game 4. Forward Paul George scored 27 points and added 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Center Roy Hibbert has been dominant in the series so far but only had 22 points and 6 rebounds Thursday night. Forward David West scored 17 points and added 8 rebounds. No other Pacer scored more than 4 points, including the starting backcourt of George Hill and Lance Stephenson. Both got in early foul trouble. Stephenson would foul out after talking a lot of trash that seemed to fire up LeBron James.

Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 53-42 ATS this season and the total is 48-44-2. Miami is outscoring teams 103-95 this season. The Heat are #5 in scoring and in points allowed. Miami is shooting 49.6% from the field and 39.6% from 3 point range. The Heat lead the league in field goal shooting and are #2 in 3 point shooting. Miami makes 75.4% of their free throws. The Heat are last in the league in rebounding at 38.6 per game, and fourth in rebounds allowed with 40.1. Miami opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Miami is 11th or better in both categories. The Heat average  23 assists, 8.7 steals, 5.4 blocks, and 13.3 turnovers per game.

In the playoffs, forward LeBron James is averaging 24 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.7 steal per game. He won his fourth MVP award. Guard Dwyane Wade is averaging a playoff career low 13 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He is battling a bruised knee that won’t heal until the offseason. Forward/center Chris Bosh averages 13.2 points, 8.3 rebounds,  1.6 assists, and 2 blocks per game. Guard Ray Allen averages 12.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Point guard Mario Chalmers averages 7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Chalmers bruised his shoulder in game #1 but played in game 2.  The breakout star of the playoffs for Miami has been Norris Cole. The point guard is averaging 8.8 points a game. Forward Shane Battier averages 5.6 points and 2 rebounds. Rashard Lewis,  Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and Chris Andersen make up the rest of the rotation.

Indiana is coached by Frank Vogel. The Pacers are 54-44 ATS and the total is 44-48-2 this season. The Pacers are outscoring teams 95-91 this season. Indiana is second in the league in points allowed and #23 in scoring. The Pacers are shooting 43.6% from the field and 34.7% from 3 point range. Indiana is 22nd or worse in both categories. The Pacers make 74.6% of their free throws. Indiana leads the league in rebounding at 45.8 per game, and are #8 in rebounds allowed at 40.9. Indiana opponents are shooting 42% from the field and 32.7% from 3 point range. The Pacers lead the league in both categories. Indiana averages 20.3 assists, 7.2 steals, 6.3 blocks, and 14.5 turnovers.

In the playoffs, forward Paul George is averaging 19.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Point guard George Hill is averaging 15.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 4.2 rebounds. Forward David West is averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Center Roy Hibbert is averaging 14 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Lance Stephenson, Gerald Green, D.J. Augustin, Sam Young and Tyler Hansbrough make up the rest of the rotation. Hansbrough is questionable with an ankle injury.  The Pacers have played the entire season without all-star forward Danny Granger.

Miami is 7-1 ATS in Saturday games, 6-1 against teams with winning home records, 21-6 in road games, 15-7 overall, and against Eastern Conference teams, and 0-4 after a straight up win. The over is 6-1 in this series recently and 5-1 in the last six in Indianapolis.

Indiana is 5-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 4-0 after failing to cover, 7-1 at home, 4-1 against teams with winning road records,  12-4 after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, 5-2 against Southeast Division teams, 9-4 against teams with winning records, overall, and against Eastern Conference teams, and 2-5 in Saturday games.

The Pacers are a very gritty and resilient team and can force a game seven. However, they need production from Hill and Stephenson. By the same token, as great as LeBron has been, he needs help from some of his teammates preferably Wade and Bosh. The Heat will not be intimidated by a hostile road environment, and they think they put the Pacers away tonight in a very close game.

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