Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 pm ET on Tuesday at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. This game can be seen on ESPN TV.
5 Dimes Sportsbook currently lists the Heat as a 2.5 point betting favorite and the betting total for the game is 184.
This is a crucial game for Miami, who doesn’t want to go down 2-0 in this series. The Pacers are a very a very inconsistent team. When they’re playing poorly, the Philadelphia 76’ers can beat them, but when they play like they did in game 1, they have the potential to knock off the 2- time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat. This is a huge game for the Heat.
A “Giant” Difference
At 7 foot 2, 290 pounds, Roy Hibbert is a giant of a man and when he has his head in the game, nobody on the Heat squad can stop him. The problem for Indiana that Hibbert fades in and out and can’t be relied upon consistently to perform like he did in game 1 of this series.
In game 1, Roy Hibbert woke up from the dead once again to produce 19 points and 9 rebounds while Paul George also came up huge with 24 points and 7 rebounds. You’ll never see a player play more inconsistently than Roy Hibbert has played in these playoffs. One game he can go 19 and 7 and the next game he may score 2 points and foul out in 10 minutes.
His college coach at Georgetown, John Thompson III, has told Hibbert to control the action and use aggression like he did at Georgetown. Hibbert appears to have listened to his college coach in game 1.
Indiana has been a disaster in these playoffs as the #1 seed, almost losing to the 8th seeded and sub .500 Atlanta Hawks and having trouble with the young and talented Washington Wizards.
Somehow, the Pacers have managed to advance. An even more unusual part of this is that the Miami Heat might be the easiest matchup for the Pacers where styles of play are concerned.
Chris Bosh is a good offensive center, but he’s undersized and soft. This is a great matchup for Roy Hibbert. If Hibbert is playing with confidence, nobody can stop him. The Heat also aren’t a very deep team and the Pacers top-rated defense can double team on Dwayne Wade and Lebron James if one of “The Big 3” is having a rough night. If Wade is playing poorly, then the Pacers double-team Chris Bosh.
Indiana must play like they did in game 1 and make Lebron James beat them.
Not Lebron’s Year?
Lebron James has a lot of pressure on him in this series. After not winning the MVP Award this season, as I stated that he wouldn’t in one of my previous articles, James has bigger things to worry about such as advancing to the NBA Finals. Whenever the Heat have difficulties, Lebron James becomes a one-man show. Thus far, it’s brought LBJ 2 NBA Titles, but 1 player can’t do this every season and get away with it.
Even in a loss, James didn’t have to go solo as Dwayne Wade came up big in game 1 with 27 points. Wade has the knack for coming up big in crucial situations, but the Heat would much rather Chris Bosh play better than he did in the 1st game of this series. Bosh was held to just 9 points and 4 rebounds in game 1 and grossly outplayed by Roy Hibbert.
Pressure On the Heat?
I wouldn’t call game 2 a must win situation for the Heat. If Indiana won game 2, the Pacers would just be “holding serve”. Nevertheless, going down 2-0 to any team in a 7 game series is a tough predicament.
Look for Miami to come out like gangbusters in game 2. The Heat will get Chris Bosh involved immediately. With that said, I expect the Pacers to keep playing well because the Heat are a good matchup for them.
Look for the Heat to come up big in the latter stages of this game and even up the series.
Free NBA Pick: Miami Heat -2.5 at 5 Dimes