Miami Heat: The Recipe For An Indiana Pacers Upset
The 5 Ingredients For An Indiana Pacers Upset
Intense would probably be too soft of a word to describe this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, but playing against the Chicago Bulls was probably the best preparation for whatever that word might be.
"We're ready for whatever," LeBron James said (via ESPN.com). "I believe it's going to be like last series. They're going to try to put me on the floor, maybe. Be physical with me, maybe. I don't know. Every team kind of does the same thing. They kind of read what everyone else talks about [and say], 'You have to beat up the Heat to beat them.' We'll see what happens."
Like the Bulls, the Indiana Pacers are a team who struggles, at times to score, but they have been the hardest team to put up buckets or wipe the glass against statistically — which could stifle the Heat’s strengths (scoring) while highlighting their season-long weaknesses (rebounding).
Also like the Bulls, they have the potential to turn every game into more of a Friday night fight than a basketball game. As we saw during last year’s semifinals, the Pacers will do anything to get Miami off their game.
"Sometimes teams try to use that," Dwyane Wade said (via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel), "seeing if they can get in your head, as well, seeing if being physical or doing certain things can get in your head."
But above all of the hard hits and choke signs, Indy has a young star who isn’t afraid to play both sides of the ball, making it a guarantee that you will see the man that they call Rated PG in one of the next five slides of possible roads to heartache for the Heat.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.
House Of Defense
The Indiana Pacers lead the league in defensive field goal percentage and defensive 3-point percentage while finishing second in points allowed during the season.
Their length and ability to guard players one-on-one could give Miami’s high-powered offense continuous fits.
David West And The Blue Collar Bruisers
"They're big, they like to beat you up," point guard Norris Cole said (via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel).
Indiana’s tandem of Tyler Hansbrough and David West have never met a player that they’ve been scared to put on the floor, and they seem to take pride in dropping Miami's stars.
The Man In The Middle
At 7-foot-2, Roy Hibbert is a legitimate giant in the middle. His length and ability to block shots, rebound and dominate the low post make him nearly impossible to stop if he’s engaged.
Miami’s best bets are to draw him out, get him in foul trouble and ready their floaters for when he sits in the paint.
Home Court Advantage
If the Pacers can pull off a victory in Miami, they’ll steal home court and bring the Heatles to an arena where they're 6-0 during the postseason.
Indy's Rising Star
The confidence of Paul George has put him on the cusp of being a great two-way player.
If he can score while slowing down the league’s MVP, the Heat could end up at home watching the NBA Finals.
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