NBA Playoffs Picks: Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat Game 5

2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Finals Game #5
#3 Indiana Pacers at #1 Miami Heat
Best of Seven Series Tied 2-2
Wednesday, May 30, 2013, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
American Airlines Arena – Miami, Florida
Opening Line: Miami -8
Current Line: Miami -7 1/2
Opening Total: 185 1/2
Current Total: 185 1/2
Opening Money Line: Heat -375 / Pacers +315
Current Money Line: Heat -385 / Pacers +325


Heat Pacers NBA Game Preview
The Heat look to take a 3-2 series lead against the Pacers in game five wednesday

The Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers has now become a best of 3 series with both teams splitting the first two games of the series. The teams return to Miami for game five Wednesday night. The San Antonio Spurs, who swept the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals, await the winner in the Finals which won’t start until next Thursday regardless of when the Heat and pacers series ends.

Miami survived game one against Indiana with a 103-102 win in overtime. The Pacers would take game two 97-93. Miami would regain home court with a 114-96 rout in Indianapolis in game three. Game four was a very physical game with some questionable officiating on both sides.

The Pacers came out with more energy especially on defense then they did in game 3. Indiana opened the game on an             11-0 run. The Heat got back into the game quickly though, and the Pacers would end up taking a 26-22 lead at the end of the first.  Miami would only trail 48-47 at halftime despite Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and forward  Chris Andersen  each having 3 fouls. The Pacers had foul trouble of their own with several key players also having 3 fouls, most notably forward Paul George.

In the third quarter, Miami went on a 9-0 run to take a 60-54 lead. However, Indiana would answer with a 10-0 run of their own to take a 4 point lead. Indiana guard Lance Stephenson hit an off-balance 3 at the buzzer at the end of the third to make it 77-70. LeBron James was called for an offensive foul with 2 seconds left giving possession to the Pacers before  Stephenson’s shot.

The fourth quarter was even more physical than the rest of the game. Bosh left the game for several minutes after rolling his ankle. He would come back but was limited after the injury. James also rolled his ankle after stepping on a Pacer player’s foot. Both are listed as probable Wednesday night for game 6.

Miami would take an 89-86 lead with 4:54 left. The Pacers would  go on an 8-0 run to take a 94-86 lead with 1:30 left. Indiana center Roy Hibbert was fouled on a lay-up by James, which was his 5th foul. Hibbert made the free throw to complete the 3 point play. James then made a 3 at the other end to make it 94-92. Stephenson made an 8 foot jumper at the other end. James was then called for his sixth foul on a dubious offensive foul call with 56 seconds left. It was only the second time LeBron fouled out in a playoff game in his career. The Heat had several chances down the stretch but wouldn’t score again. Wade was called for traveling and guard Ray Allen missed a couple of 3’s. The Pacers would make their free throws and hold on for the 99-92 win.

The Pacers shot 50% from the field in the win. Indiana had a huge advantage on the boards with 49 rebounds to the Heat’s 30. The Pacers had 50 points in the paint and Miami had 32. All five Pacers’ starters scored in double digits. The Heat had no answer for center Roy Hibbert who had 23 points and 12 rebounds. Stephenson had 20 points, along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Guard George Hill added 19 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Forward David West had 14 points and 12 rebounds. George had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.

Miami shot 39% from the field after shooting 54.5% from the field in game three. James had 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. Wade had 16 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Bosh had 7 points, and 3 rebounds. The Heat’s Big 3 combined to go 14 for 39 from the field. Guard Mario Chalmers had 20 points,  3 rebounds and 2 steals. Allen had 11 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.

Indiana is coached by Frank Vogel. The Pacers are 54-43 ATS and the total is 44-47-2 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.  The Pacers have played the entire season without all-star forward Danny Granger.

Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 52-42 ATS this season and the total is 48-43-2. 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 5-1 ATS against Southeast teams, 4-1 in Conference final games, against teams with winning records, overall, and against Eastern Conference teams, and 1-4 in Thursday games. The Pacers are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 against the heat, and Indiana was the underdog in all games.

Miami is 8-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 7-2 after failing to cover, 20-8 in Thursday games, 3-7 in conference final games, 1-4 against teams with winning records, 1-4 overall, against Eastern Conference teams, and against Central Division teams, and 1-5 at home. The last six games in this series have gone over the total, and so have the last 4 in Miami.

Miami came out lethargic in game four. They need to come out with more energy in game five. Despite everything that went wrong Miami still had many chances to win in the fourth quarter. James likely doesn’t foul out again and the Bifg three will probably shoot better than 14 for 39. Miami needs to find a way to somehow contain Hibbert as he is punishing them down low. LeBron also needs to drive to the hoop instead of settling for jumpers. All of those issues can be solved with energy and effort.  I like the Heat to win at home to take a 3-2 lead in the series.

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