The Miami Heat will play the Indiana Pacers tonight in the final game of this best of seven Eastern Conference Finals series. Tip off is scheduled for 8:30 (EST) and the game will be televised on TNT.
Unlike the Western Conference Finals, the Eastern Conference have given fans everything they can ask for. A rising superstar in the making in Paul George, the return of the big man play from Roy Hibbert, superstars Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade’s lowest point in their careers, a head coach Frank Vogel going at it with the MVP Lebron James, flopping from both teams that have resulted in fines from the league, a LeBron James reaction after a foul that will stick with our memories forever… and now a game 7.
After the Pacers took over the game in the 3rd quarter of Game 6 at home, we knew it would take a 7th game to decide this “physical” series to say the least. The Pacers were led by guard Paul George who finished game 6 with a “LeBron James” kind of stat line-28 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. With his recent production, we will soon have to call it the “Paul George” stat line. Roy Hibbert also had a huge performance in game 6, finishing the game with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Even with those numbers, I believe Hibbert’s biggest contribution in game 6 was his presence down low with the altering of the shots from the Heat players.
The Miami Heat have everything to worry about if they don’t continue to get production from their other “Big 2.” Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 15 points on 4-19 field goal shooting in game 6. That is the lowest amount of combined points those two put up since the big 3 joined together a few years back. If the Heat look to having any chance of taking this series and advancing to their 3rd straight NBA Finals appearance, both 100 million dollar men got to play like how they’re getting paid. The way they performed in game 6 really is unacceptable, especially from Bosh.
If there is one thing that favors Miami in this game, it will be the fact they haven’t loss back-to-back games since January. But that is a stat that doesn’t concern Pacer players, even though I believe Miami will be taken this game. As of late, LeBron James has proven to his fans (and haters) that when it’s all said and done he will do whatever it takes to put his team on top. I expect the same to come out of James in this game 7, and I also expect Wade and Bosh to show up and play a good enough game to squeeze by the Pacers with a final score of 95-87.
But that’s not taking anything away from what the Pacers have done this year. I always thought the Pacers were the 2nd best team in the East, and the only thing they were lacking was experience in the playoffs and depth to their bench. If they answer both of those questions in the off-season, there should be no reason why they are not back to where they are this year; fighting for a chance to make it to the NBA Finals. They have a great coach in Frank Vogel and a team that respects him. Pacers shouldn’t look at this season as a failure if they were to lose this game 7. As a team, you always want to progress from last season. The Pacers did just that; as they made it to the conference semifinals last year, and now making it to the conference finals this year, giving the best team in the NBA all they can handle. If I had to choose who has been the better team between the two in this series, my choice would be Indiana. But sometimes it comes down to who has the better players from top to bottom, and that answer has to be Miami. I will say this though, if Miami continues to play the way they have with the Pacers against the San Antonio Spurs, expect the veterans from San Antonio to give the Heat players a reality check and taking the championship from this should-be dynasty. i say this because of one reason and one reason only; the Spurs have what the Pacers don’t have, which is experience.
Enjoy NBA Fans!