Current NBA odds offerings include the Heat favored by 7.5 or 8 points depending on the sportsbook. Miami is up 3-2 in the series and has gone 3-2 against the spread as well.
Defensive intensity should be at an extreme high tonight, so an O/U of 182.5 makes sense. That being said, the OVER has hit in three of the five games thus far. Should we back similar resluts with our NBA picks in tonight's battle?
Yet again it wasn't pretty, but the Pacers survived down the stretch to win 93-90 in Game 5. They shot 47.4 percent overall, 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from three and a miserable 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the line.
Indiana most definitely benefited from some questionable early foul calls on LeBron James, which forced the superstar to the bench.
Nevertheless, the Pacers still had to fight and claw their way to the victory, and it was Paul George that was the catalyst. He was amazing, especially in the second half, scoring 37 points on 15-of-28 shooting to go with six rebounds and six steals.
Elsewhere, David West was solid with 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals, while Roy Hibbert showed up with 10 points and 13 boards. George Hill (9/7/5) and Lance Stephenson (12/5/5 with two steals) also made some important plays.
Once again, however, the bench was non-existent for Indiana. The second unit scored a grand total of six points and they all came from Luis Scola. Will it be more of the same in Game 6?
As we mentioned above, LeBron's early foul trouble was a massive blow to Miami two nights ago, yet they still had their chances to win the game.
That has to be encouraging for Erik Spoelstra as his team gets set for a massively important game in South Beach.
Miami hit 45.3 percent overall and 48.4 percent (15-of-31) from beyond the arc but only got to the line eight times (7-of-8) all game. The Heat were uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball, turning it over 17 times in the loss.
LeBron ended up with a career playoff low of seven points in just over 24 minutes. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had to take on more responsibility, with Wade posting a 18/8/7 line and Bosh logging a double-double (20 points and 10 boards). Rashard Lewis provided a huge boost, nailing six threes, while Ray Allen had 15 points off the bench.
One would have to think LeBron is ready to bounce back in a major way here in Game 6. It's rare to see him get plagued with foul trouble like that and we expect him to be even more locked in than normal this evening. With a great supporting cast around him, will the Heat be able to wrap this series up?
Game 6 Pick
It's been a crazy ride for the Pacers, but it's a ride we expect to come to an end tonight. Jordan Sharp is thinking the same.
The Heat are simply the better team and have looked unstoppable on their own court throughout the postseason. The two-time defending champs know how crucial it is to close out the series right now. They sure as heck don't want to go back to Indiana for a Game 7.
After an ultra disappointing Game 5 showing, we expect LeBron to come out and have one of his best all-around games in the playoffs. On his shoulders, look for Miami to simply overpower Indiana and feed off the crowd en route to the win and cover, booking their spot in the NBA Finals in the process.Free NBA Pick: Heat -7.5