The Indiana Pacers had another impressive showing on the road last night closing out the Washington Wizards, 93-80. They now advance to grant us all our wish of a rematch with the defending champion Miami Heat.
A main focus I laid on the Pacers was for them to improve their rebounding. They still lost the margin in Game 6. but this time it was much closer at 38-40. They were led by center Roy Hibbert who grabbed seven, including three on the offensive end.
There were many factors that contributed to the Pacers’ closeout victory but none more than the play of David West. He dropped 29 points on 13-of-26 shooting and also chipped in six rebounds and four assists. After the game West said, “If we lost this game I wanted it to be on me.” Those right there are words of a true leader.
The road obviously does not get any easier now for them as the Heat come to town Sunday afternoon. But this year home-court advantage between the two lies with Indiana, and this could end up being a huge advantage. Many want to say that they Heat will take this series somewhat easily, in five or six games, but I do not see it that way. The Pacers have an incredible size advantage over the them, and if Hibbert and West can keep up their great play of late that will also benefit them immensely.
LeBron James is not the only good player on that team, but he is the best they have. If he manages to have an off night they are likely going to lose. The Pacers’ best player is Paul George, and although he had some great defensive plays as well as some timely baskets, he only scored 12 points last night yet they still won by 13. The Pacers have the advantage of balance and not having to rely on just one player.
I have been looking forward to this series since the Heat knocked off the Pacers last playoffs, and I know that these games will not disappoint. I really want to say Pacers win it in five, but that is not giving Miami the respect they deserve; Pacers in seven.