Pick Heat to Cover Short Number vs. Pacers

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:23 PM GMT

A marquee matchup will take place tonight in the NBA as Lebron James and the 2-time defending Champion Miami Heat (16-5) travel to Indianapolis to take on the team with the best record in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers (18-3).

Heat are the Dogs

It’s very rare that Miami is the underdog, but according to Bet365 sportsbook, they’re a 3 point underdog in the NBA odds to the seemingly unstoppable Indiana Pacers and the total for the game is 191.

This could be a preview of the Eastern Conference finals as you have possibly the two best players in the Eastern Conference in Lebron James and Paul George squaring off.

Dwayne Wade and Michael Beasley are listed on the injury report as “day to day’ and we’ll have to keep an eye on that leading up until game time.

Poor Timing

The Pacers picked the wrong time to have a clunker as they were beaten up by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, 118-94. Indiana was never in this game as OKC shot 61% from the field. The only positive to take away from this game was the performance of Paul George. George finished the game with a team high 32 points.

When George is playing at his best, he’s in the elite category along with LBJ and Kevin Durant; he just hasn’t done it for long enough and can’t consistently take over a game like Durant and James can. That said, Miami and Shane Battier will have their hands full guarding Paul George.

We can possibly see a lot of Roy Hibbert in this game. Chris Bosh is somewhat soft and the only kind of team that gives Miami trouble is a team with a huge presence defensively in the paint.

At a legitimate 7 foot 2, Hibbert fits the bill. Dealing with Hibbert will be a tough test for Miami. On the season, the big man is averaging 12. 4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game. Hibbert is a player that’s capable of scoring 20 points at any time and can block half a dozen shots in a game if the opportunity presents itself. He’s just as important to Indiana in this game as Paul George.

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Who Needs Dwayne Wade?

It’s been said before and it’s true. It appears at times that Lebron James is such a good player, that he gets bored during the regular season and is just waiting for his ticket to the finals. With that said, James has had to play well with Dwayne Wade breaking down as he gets older.

In the Heat’s last game, Ray Allen got into the act as he pretty much replaced Wade and added 18 points in 25 minutes in a 110-95 victory for Miami on the road against Josh Smith and the Detroit Pistons. Even though Miami is a one man show in James, they still need the presence of players like Wade, Bosh, and Battier on the court to secure a 3-peat.

Look for Shane Battier to guard the opposition’s best player. In this case that would be Paul George. On the rare occasions in which Battier doesn’t have to deal with a superstar on the defensive end, he can be quite effective from beyond the arc.

This game is a bit unpredictable because Indiana has a top level defense, is undefeated at home, but has never been blown out the way that they were against the Thunder in their last game. It’s all a matter resilience and confidence.

Outcome

With Wade’s status up in the air, I still expect a competitive game. Lebron James, the best player on the planet, is so good that he can win a game by himself. Indiana will come into this game with the backing of their fans, but expect them to be a bit shaky after their last performance. We'll take the Heat and the points for our NBA pick.

Pick - Miami Heat +3 at Bet 365

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