The Miami Heat are one win away from their third consecutive NBA finals appearance. On Saturday June 1st, 8:30 p.m. the Heat face the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. So far, no team has won two games in a row, and the Pacers will look to hold serve on their home court. Indiana will need a total team effort to win game six and move to a seventh game.
The barometer for the Indiana Pacers have been the guards throughout the playoffs. George hill and Lance Stephenson combined for five points, three rebounds and six assists during Thursday’s game. From the opening moments in game five, Stephenson was sent to the bench with two early fouls. In the second half, two quick fouls on Hill stunningly changed the outcome of the game. Hill needs to stay on the court to offset the pressure by the Miami Heat perimeter defenders.
The Miami Heat must contend on the boards if they are to win on the road. If they are 15 or more below the Indiana in the rebounding game, it will be a clear advantage for the Pacers in the paint. Chris ‘Birdman’ Anderson has been suspended for his actions in game five, so Miami will look elsewhere for punch off the bench.
While Paul George hasn’t had a bad game in the series, he’s been much more aggressive offensively on the road. The Pacers will need George to attack the rim and fill it up from beyond the arc in game six. Lebron James has trouble guarding George, so look for the Heat to continue with the cross matchup. George has the clear height advantage over Wade, and he should look to force the issue, and contract the defense.
For the heat too win, they have to get out and run for easy baskets. They are virtually unstoppable when the opponents are turning the ball over. Creating scoring opportunities off of their defense is one way to offset the inside game of the Pacers.
David West has to outplay Udonis Haslem for Indiana to be successful. In game five, Haslem scored 16 points offsetting West’s 17.
Miami came with strong double teams in the post to slow down Roy Hibbert. The aggressive defense didn’t hurt Roy’s scoring numbers, but he was held to six rebounds in 40 minutes of play.
Look for Miami to try to get Bosh and Wade involved in the game early. They combined for 15 shots in the game, and both attempted fewer shots than Haslem.
Lebron James has been shooting the ball well from deep, but bad defense left him wide open for a few opportunities. In game five, he was on the verge of a cold streak after missing two wide open three’s. James quickly righted the ship after making another uncontested mid range jumper.
It will be interesting to see what defensive adjustments each team comes up with throughout game six.