In the day after what was an exhilarating Game 5, the Indiana Pacers have managed to keep their season alive for at least two more days. Although the odds are increasingly against them, if they manage to sneak out a victory tomorrow night in Miami, this series would take a drastic turn in their favor.
While understandably so, nobody is giving the Pacers much of a shot tomorrow night against the defending champions Miami Heat. They will have a crazy crowd on hand as they will all want to see their team advance to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals on their home-court.
I understand that many members of the NBA media want to hand the reins to LeBron James as the best player to ever walk this earth, but I think his seven-point showing in a Game 5 may have quieted the tongues for a little while.
Now, you cannot disrespect what he has been able to accomplish already in his career. Four MVP awards, two championship rings and a scoring championship are among many of his career accolades. However, since everyone wants to constantly compare him to Michael Jordan, in 200 playoff games his lowest scoring total (15 points) was still over doubled what James put up last night.
Now I know LeBron was in foul trouble, which hindered him to only 24 minutes on the night, but when he was on the court he still only shot 2-10 from the field.
The stage is now set for LeBron and the Heat tomorrow night; they will be angry that this series isn’t over and you can guarantee that he will often get the benefit of the doubt in regards to foul calls. So because of this, he will go out and score 40 points just because he wants to?
The key factor that I think many are forgetting is the high level of defense that the Pacers have the ability to show; James is known for his ability to get to the rim, but has been restricted from doing so many times because of the game’s best rim protector Roy Hibbert. I’m just not a firm believer that just because he had an off game one night, he is a lock to come out and have the best game of his career the next, although I am clearly in the minority in that thinking.
That being said, it is still very likely LeBron will come out and get his 30 or 40 points anyways in Game 6, but who is to say that will be enough. Sure, the Heat kept the game close without getting much production from their best player, but are we forgetting that Rashard Lewis hit six three-pointers and as a team they hit 15. I have a feeling that Lewis won’t be putting up those same numbers anytime soon, so the Heat will need a role player to step in and provide an additional lift.
We wanted an intense matchup and the script is slowly being written for this to turn into a playoff series to remember. Their backs are clearly still against the wall, but if the Pacers can ride the hot shooting that Paul George showed in Game 5, and limit the points of turnovers or touchdown turnovers, they will have a legitimate shot to take this to Game 7, where anything can happen.