It’s just a formality.
The Indiana Pacers will be just a footnote in their storybook championship journey. Just another team the Miami Heat had to beat because they’re going to win it all right?
They’ve got the game’s best player in LeBron James, who won his third NBA MVP today.
They’ve got the league’s second and third best option in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, respectively.
And they don’t have to contend with the Chicago Bulls, who lost Derrick Rose to a season-ending injury and their first-round series to the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in six games.
The road is paved for Miami to take it all. Indiana is just a speed bump in the road right?
(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (2) Miami Heat
Game 1: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
How they got here: Indiana def. (5) Orlando, 4-1; Miami def. (1) New York, 4-1.
How they REALLY got here: Without Dwight Howard (back), the Magic didn’t stand a chance in beating the Pacers. Had a difficult time scoring without the big fella drawing a double team to free up their shooters. Plus with the “coach-said-player-said” relationship Howard and Stan Van Gundy had, nothing good was going to come out of it. As for Miami, it has a team. The Knicks are trying to become one. The Heat should have swept the Knicks, but took them out as expected.
Biggest concern for Pacers: Keeping the Heat out of transition and closing out games. Although the Pacers have youth, they must take care of the ball to force Miami to play half court.
Biggest concern for Heat: Indiana’s depth, particularly on the inside, and personality. Led by 7-footer Roy Hibbert, Indiana can hurt Miami on the offensive glass. The Pacers won’t back down.
Series prediction: Heat in 6. Indiana is a great closer away from being right there with Miami. Doesn’t have to be a superstar, but someone who can hit tough shots down the stretch. Miami has that with James and Wade. Still, Indiana will make this a competitive series. If the Heat easily take care of Game 1, which is highly possible, they can’t relax and think this series will be a cakewalk. The Magic took Game 1 against Indiana, but lost the final four.