You know who’s loving this Western Conference Finals series? Not the general TV viewing audience (judging by the buzz and the ratings), and certainly not the Memphis Grizzlies or their fan base. No, the only person enjoying this series outside of San Antonio might be Rudy Gay. Not to suggest he bears any ill will to his old mates, and by all accounts they got along quite well, but simply in the sense that watching them flounder offensively, there have to be times a slight smile creeps across his face… the smug thought “miss me now?!?”
The West may be all but won, but the Eastern Conference appears to be headed for a classic. After splitting the first two games in Miami – both games coming down to the final possession – Indiana and Miami now shift to the heartland for a pivotal Game Three. So can the Pacers continue to play toe to toe with the champs and defend their home floor? Or will King James and company prove their royalty and recapture home floor advantage?
Let’s dig inside tonight’s game for today free pick.
Miami Heat -2 at Indiana Pacers (Total: 184)
The Pacers have to be encouraged by the fact that despite losing Game One in dramatic fashion, they came RIGHT back in Game Two, continued to be the aggressor, and captured an enormous win. Even more encouraging, they have trailed in the fourth quarter of each game by as many as five points and never got rattled or folded. The continued to battle and fight and never lost their cool. At this point, strip away the names on the jersey and past reputation and just look at the play and the results in Miami, and you’d have to give Indiana the edge in this series.
The thing that frightens Vegas from having Indy as a favorite at home is probably the fact that Miami has only lost four games TOTAL since January, going 50-4 over that stretch. To think they’d suddenly lose four in a week and a half to the “starless” Pacers feels like a bit much to comprehend… and I too am not quite ready to go that far either, but I do think they have a good shot to win tonight at home. I expect another good game, and one that could very well come down to the last minute or possession again. The two point line means little, but I suppose in a series this close it could bail you out. However, if you can get a moneyline and get back the juice at even money, I’d take it.
Miami has struggled a bit to get support scoring from their role players and has yet to find an answer for Indy’s interior scoring; being David West or Roy Hibbert who have each been, well, BIG, in this series. I like them to be big once more tonight and to put a real fright into the Champs by taking a 2-1 lead.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers +2