Miami Heat -1.5 at Indiana Pacers (Total: 179)
Kobe Bryant giveth, and Kobe taketh away. For three quarters, Kobe made tough shot after tough shot, drew free throw opportunity after free throw opportunity and had the home Lakers poised to even the series at 2-2. Then Kobe went ice cold, the ball froze in his hands for his final six minutes of the game and the lead whittled away as his shot began going awry. He finished just 1 of 9 from the floor in the fourth quarter, and when Kevin Durant stuck a dagger-three in the Laker chest with 20 seconds to play, the series was all but over.
This afternoon in Indianapolis, the young upstart Pacers have a similar opportunity to slay a giant and take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Miami Heat. There are a ton of questions surrounding the Heat, and most of them follow the physical (and mental) condition of Dwyane Wade. Wade was atrocious in Game Three, scoring five points and is shooting less than 20% from distance in this series. On shots outside of the PAINT he is shooting less than 30%! His frustration reached a boiling point in the third quarter when he got in the face of Coach Spo and had to be restrained by Juwan Howard and James Jones.
There is no question the Heat are a less efficient offensive team without Chris Bosh, but can they really be as bad as they looked in Game Three??
Vegas seems to doubt it. Despite all the visual evidence to the contrary in Games Two and Three, the Heat are STILL favored in this afternoon’s do-or-die Game Four. However, here are a few facts to be wary of: Mario Chalmers had the game of his life in Game Three, scoring a game-high 25 points. There is NO WAY he duplicates that performance. Obviously Wade will play better, but will he be better enough to offset the abnormal gains from Chalmers Game Three performance??
Indiana will also have an insanely fevered and frothing home court advantage today. Like most teams, the Pacers tend to shoot better at home. If they can get their jump shots falling and continue to move the basketball as efficiently as they have so far this series, they are going to remain tough to defend.
As blasphemous as it seems, I am leaning towards the Pacers. Take the reputation and names away and just LOOK at the players and the flow of the games, and it leans heavily Indiana’s way. For the season, Wade and Lebron have the two highest PER’s in the series (Player Efficiency Rating). Players #3 through #10 are ALL Indiana Pacers. This series is essentially two on eight.
I’ll go with the eight.
Give me the Pacers to win, but I won’t spurn away the point and a half.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers +1.5