Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat -7.5 (Total: 180.5) – Eastern Conference Finals Game Two
Game One was an absolute classic; a thrilling game for 53-minutes, and I think the first chapter of what could be a really entertaining and dramatic series. The Heat prevailed thanks to Lebron James buzzer beating layup, but the talk all swarmed around Coach Frank Vogel’s curious decision to have 7’2’’ Roy Hibbert on the bench for the final defensive 2.2 seconds. It became popular to second guess Vogel and even rip him in the media. While the decision didn’t make a ton of sense to most fans, it was far from the only defining play of that game.
Here are a few other moments, that had they gone differently, could have resulted in a much different outcome. Obviously Paul George unleashed a couple of Reggie Miller highlights for the vaults, but the simple fact remains – BOTH of those plays were completely busted plays; horrible offensive possessions, that were bailed out with near-miracles. Lost in the George heroics was the utter inability of George Hill to initiate and orchestrate the offense. If he doesn’t play better tonight, look for more DJ Augustine.
The second overlooked factor – if Ray Allen, probably the best foul shooter alive, hits two free throws late, Paul George never gets the chance to play the hero role. But the unsung play of the night was with 2:20 left in overtime and David West missing a layup that would have built the Pacer lead to four points. Instead, not only does he miss, but the team looks so caught off guard by the miss that they allow a Dwyane Wade run-out basket to tie the game. That four point swing was absolutely enormous for a Pacer team that had leads but couldn’t quite ever land the knockout blow in overtime.
I expect more great theatre and intense action tonight. Both teams have some questions at point guard; the health of Chalmers and the play of George Hill. Both teams committed a ridiculous amount of turnovers in Game One. But both teams also showed a ton of toughness and a willingness to be physical.
I think Indiana bounces back with resiliency tonight. Rather than the fan approach of “they blew the series” I think they adopt the player mentality,” we can play with these guys and we damn near beat the defending champs on the road. Let’s get this one tonight and take home court advantage.”
I am not sure Indy can even the series, but I am a little surprised the line remained at seven or seven and a half. I thought it might tightened in the six range after watching the way the Pacers defended the Heat for fifty two minutes and fifty eight seconds.
Give me Indy with the points tonight.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers +7.5