Pacers at Heat Game 3 Pick

Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat

Game 3

Saturday 8:30 EST

May 24, 2014

Game 1 Line: Miami -7 (Subject to change. Check up-to-date odds at Bovada)

For months, the Indiana Pacers fought long and hard to earn home court advantage throughout the playoffs. For 48 minutes of Game 1 and through three quarters of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, it was. Until LeBron James and Dwyane Wade outscored the Pacers 25-20 in the fourth quarter en route to a four-point win.

With the series at one game apiece, the Pacers head to Miami, where they’ll be looking to continue their road dominance during the playoffs. Posting a 5-1 playoff record away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, unfortunately their Game 3 opponent isn’t the Atlanta Hawks or Washington Wizards. On Saturday night, the Pacers will be facing the two-time defending champions on their home court, fresh off a Game 2 victory. Having won 11 straight games following a playoff loss, Miami has now regained control of their own destiny after faltering in Game 1. For Miami, the formula is simple: win there remaining home games over the Pacers, and a fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals awaits. And with the way James and Wade have been playing in crunch time, all signs are pointing towards a 2013 NBA finals rematch.

Throughout the playoffs, James and Wade have been nothing short of phenomenal during the final frame. Averaging 7.3 points in the 4th quarter, the best rate of anyone still in the playoffs, King James continues to reign supreme, while Wade is shooting 59 percent in the final 12 minutes, 8 percent better than his percentage during the first three quarters of playoff games. Despite Miami’s defensive weaknesses that were displayed during Games 1 and even during Game 2, Miami has proven they are still capable of greatness.

If the Pacers go on to lose this series, the reason won’t be because of Paul George’s concussion now that he’s been cleared to play. It’ll be the final 7 minutes of Game 2 that will be their defining moment of the 2014 season, where they managed just 10 points over the final 7:19, showing their inability to close out the game. For a team that prides themselves on defense, the Pacers must regain their defensive prowess or they’ll find themselves in a hole in which they won’t be able to get out of.

Now that George is a go for Game 3, there’s no denying his importance to this team. Not for what he means to the Pacers on the offensive end, although the Pacers average 13.2 more points per game with him on the floor, but George has been given the assignment of guarding James. Although James is shooting better than 50 percent in the first two games of the series, he hasn’t exploded for any more than 25 points. Aside from Game 2’s fourth quarter, James has yet to have a dominant performance in this series. Coming home to South Beach, that all could change.

There’s no team in the playoffs that needed these three days of rest more than the Pacers. Having to rely on its starters with four of them playing at least 40 minutes in Game 2, Indiana will not survive if the starters continue to play these types of minutes for the remainder of the series. They’ll simply run out of gas.

For Indiana, a 2-0 series lead was within reach, until the Heat took away from them what they believed was rightfully theirs: homecourt advantage. Now, the ball is in the King’s court and that’s a scary proposition for the Pacers. Heading into Game 3, everyone will be wondering if George will be in top form. The Pacers already had their chance to put their imprint on this series. It’s now the Heat’s turn to give that championship performance that everyone is waiting to see.

Let’s not forget. This is LeBron’s reign, and we’re all just witnesses.

My Pick: Heat -7

May 24, 2014 by : Posted in Picks and Predictions No Comments
Adam Rosen

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Adam Rosen is a seasoned sports writer with special interests in Pro Football and Basketball. He has been picking sports games against the spread for years, and has posted a 56% win rate over his last 75 predictions.

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