The Miami Heat have won 45 of their last 48 games. They are the defending NBA champions. They have the games best player in Lebron James and arguably the best “2nd best player” in league history in Dwayne Wade. The Indiana Pacers have no “star” player. They have a cast of players that has worked as a tea in order to get where they are. Paul George is an up and coming star who hasn’t even come close to reaching his full potential. Veteran forward David West is a proven scorer who bangs on the inside. Center Roy Hibbert could be the biggest difference in the series. Miami has nobody on their roster that can come close to matching Hibbert’s size.
Point Guard- George Hill vs. Mario Chalmers
Chalmers is an underrated part of what Miami does. He is a big guard capable of defending multiple positions and knocking down outside shots. Hill is a player who has steadily improved each season and has taken big steps forward this off post season. If he had not recovered from is concussion in game 4 so quickly then it is likely that his team would not have advanced
Shooting Guard- Lance Stephenson vs. Dwayne Wade
Stephenson is one of the most improved players in the league and showed his versatility in playing some point guard while Hill missed Game 4. Wade is again dealing with injuries however showed flashes of his old self in the cinching game of round 1.
Small Forward- Paul George vs. Lebron James
George is an incredible talent that showed what type of defender he is with an impressive defensive showing against Carmello Anthony in the last series. He is not polished offensively, however he provides trouble for opposing defenders with his size and outside shooting touch. James is the best player in the league and a multiple time MVP. He is looking to further improve his legacy and advance into the best player of all time conversation.
Power Forward- David West vs. Udonis Haslem
West is a strong all around player. He stretches the floor by consistently making the 18 foot jump shot and is capable of scoring with his back to the basket. Haslem is a veteran who is similar to West in many ways. He has also taken part of many playoff games in his career and will not be afraid as the games get bigger.
Advantage – Indiana
Center- Roy Hibbert vs. Chris Bosh
Hibbert dominated in the 2nd round series vs. New York both offensively and defensively. He protects the rim at all times and does a great job at keeping his hands up and avoiding fouls. Bosh is an undersized center who keeps opposing centers out of the paint with his nice touch from the perimeter.
Miami relies veteran defender and 3 point specialist Shane Battier as well as the instant energy of Norris Cole and Chris Anderson to keep their starters fresh. Indiana has sharpshooter D.J Augustine along with rugged forward Tyler Hansborough.
The series will come down to which team can impose its will on the other. If Miami is able to draw Hibbert out of the lane and keep the game at their pace then they will have an easy victory. The pacers must find a way to keep the game slow and take advantage of their interior mismatches. This series is going to be a lot closer than people think.
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