The match-up for the Eastern Conference Finals could have been predicted. The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers have been playing lights out basketball all season. Indiana has the upperhand in the regular season series, winning with two wins and one loss. Though, everyone knows when crunchtime comes around this time of year, LeBron James and the Miami Heat step up to the plate and hit home runs. Here are some key notes that can decide the series.
X-Factors: LeBron James and Roy Hibbert
As everyone knows, LeBron is a dominant force in games, as he is the best player in the game right now. He can literally play offense or defense on every single position on the floor. This is a gift not even Michael Jordan had. The question is who will defend him?
Roy Hibbert is another body on the floor that is extremely difficult to contain. He is nearly unstoppable in the paint and is able to grab rebounds from any angle. He is also great with put-backs. Whether is is Chris “Birdman” Andersen or Chris Bosh defending him, either crucially needs to make a great presence in the paint if they want any shot of stopping Hibbert.
Key Injuries: Dwyane Wade and George Hill
Dwyane Wade has been suffering from lingering knee injuries, that may very well be a long term issue that could cut his career short. His pain is obvious, as he walks with a noticeable limp anytime timeout is called or the game is stopped. His injuries got to the point where he nearly sat out a crucial game 5 against the Chicago Bulls last week. If Wade is able to find a way to stay healthy, then he could be a big help to Miami’s frontcourt.
Although he was cleared to play for game 6 against the New York Knicks, there is the possibility of Pacers point guard George Hill suffering from lingering effects of his concussion. He returned to play earlier than a player normally would, and that puts him more at risk for further injury. Simply running could cause him to feel dizziness. There may need to be an eye kept on Hill just in case he has concussion-related symptoms.
Series Prediction: Miami wins the series, 4-2
This is not going to be easy pickings for Miami. They are definitely going to be tested by the Pacers. But with no one being able to guard LeBron or Wade, if he can stay healthy, Indiana will not be able to have the stamina to pull away the series from the Heat, as they have just gone through 2 six game series in a row.
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