At long last the Eastern Conference Finals have arrived. After five days of inactivity, the East rejoins the party. How long of a layoff was there? For two days the media had to contrive a “Frank Vogel disrespected the Heat out of thin air (have you ever heard a Frank Vogel interview??? He’s hilarious, flip, but certainly not disrespectful or inflammatory) JUST to keep things interesting. Fortunately, now we get to focus on the actual games on the court.
So – there’s been plenty of hype around the physicality of the Pacers and potential problems it might present, but we’ve seen teams try to rough up the Heat before. The Celtics, the Bulls, even the Pacers to a lesser extent – and none have advanced past them.
Is there enough firepower in Indy’s lineup to score enough points to contend with the Heat, or at the end of the day, is King James and Company simply too good??
Let’s take a look at Game One as we dig into an intriguing Eastern Conference Finals
Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat -8 (Total: 182.5) — Eastern Conference Finals Game One
Something has to give tonight. By many metrics Indiana is the best defensive team in the NBA. I personally do not believe that to be true, but I will put them in the Top Three. However, tonight, they begin a series against a seemingly-unmovable object; the relentless (and often overlooked) EFFICIENCY of the Miami Heat. This is a team that shot a staggering 49.5% from the floor during the regular season. Think about that… and entire team shooting nearly 50% from the field for an entire season. That’s more than 4% above the league average, and their differential between shot/allowed of +5.8% easily led the NBA.
Indiana is a good defensive team, but Miami is a remarkably efficient offensive team. It will be interesting to see who can get the edge. I can honestly see that matchup going either way; and will at times ebb and flow (often in conjunction with who is playing at home) this series.
Miami has shown a tendency to enter series, especially after a long rest, in a bit of a funk. Add in the fact that no matter what anyone says, something isn’t QUITE right with Dwyane Wade right now, and the eight points you have to lay on the Heat feels a bit steep. I think it is possible Indiana comes out sharper and sneaks up on Miami tonight.
Indiana won the season series 2-1, and likewise was 2-1 ATS this season against Miami. Of course, all three wins and covers by the respective teams happened on their home floor tonight.
There is a TON to LOVE about Miami, and eventually, I think they will win this series. But the tempo for a tough, close, competitive series will be set tonight.
Give me Indy with the eight points.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers +8