The Eastern Conference Finals get started later this evening and like the conferenve finals out west we have a really great solid matchup that also has the makings of a classic gritty old school type series between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers.
In a series that has both teams carrying over their hatred and animosity from last years hard-fought six game semifinals series that the Heat won both teams look to build on what appears to be a new rivalry building between both teams. Both got the drama started early too with Pacers coach Frank Vogel irritating the Heat with his comments about them being “just the next team that’s in our way,” only a year after accusing them of being among the best actors and floppers in the league. To which Heat leader and NBA MVP LeBron James responded that him and the defending champs aren’t just another team.
Both where right as the Heat with the additions of Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Chris Anderson have an improved bench from last year and with a healthy Chris Bosh that gives them the edge in the series despite a still mostly hobbling Dwyane Wade. The Pacers despite the loss of Danny Granger are still just as good if not better than the team that took Miami to a tough six game semifinal matchup last year.
This Pacers group that has been led by Paul George, Roy Hibbert and George Hill has the size, length, rebounding, psychical and stingy defense that can beat Miami two or three times and can make this a really great series. The only problem though is that the Pacers despite a not fully healthy Wade are facing a Heat team that feeds off turnovers, something Indiana is prone to getting and averaged a ghastly 15.6 against the Knicks in the last round.
Indiana is also to offensive strapped at times and can go on long scoring droughts where it’s real difficult for them to score and has a losing record on the road that will make things more difficult. While Wade’s health is the wild-card like it probably will be the rest of the playoffs the Heat are just to efficiently good on both offense and defense, as well as pose to many problems in general for the Pacers to win the series and I see Miami winning another hard-fought six game series like they did last year to move on to their third straight NBA Finals appearance since forming the Big Three in 2010.