at INDIANA PACERS
Eastern Conference Finals
Game 6 - Heat lead series 3-2
Tip-off: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -2, Total: 182
The Heat will be looking to earn a third straight conference title when they head to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday for Game 6 against the Pacers.
Miami was down four points at halftime in Game 5, but that was before LeBron James called a huddle to rally up his teammates. When the second half began, James completely dominated the game from that point on. The Heat outscored the Pacers by 17 points in the third quarter (30-13) and they ended up winning the game 90-79 behind 30 points from the league MVP. This game was heated and tempers were flaring as there was almost a fight between Chris Andersen and Tyler Hansbrough in the first half, followed by Udonis Haslem and David West nearly going at it in the second half. The two teams do not like each other one bit and it has made for some exciting, physical play. So far in this series, Indiana is 3-2 ATS, with the teams alternating SU wins in all five contests. Miami is a strong 34-13 SU and 29-18 ATS (62%) on the road this season, including a 5-1 mark (SU and ATS) in the playoffs, outscoring these hosts by 11.3 PPG. But the Pacers are 7-1 (SU and ATS) at home this postseason, and a strong 37-12 SU and 29-20 ATS mark (59%) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the entire 2012-13 campaign. They have already bounced back from two SU losses this series with corresponding wins, making them 26-12 SU and 25-13 ATS (66%) when coming off a defeat this season.
Can the Heat close out the series on the road Saturday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Playoffs Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2013 postseason. For NBA Playoff Best Bets, StatFox Dave is 75% ATS (3-1) since May 6, StatFox Gary is 60% ATS (6-4) since May 9, and StatFox Brian is 56.3% ATS (9-7) since May 9 and 53% ATS (21-19) for the postseason. Dave is also 80% ATS (4-1) since May 25 in all postseason picks, while Gary is 58.3% ATS (7-5) since May 16. For NBA Totals, StatFox Scott is an impressive 72.2% (13-5) since May 6, to increase his postseason Totals mark to 60% (18-12-2), while Gary is 71.4% (5-2) since May 11, and also a stellar 64.3% (18-10-1) on all playoff Totals.
The Heat looked like they were in for some big trouble after the first half of Game 5, but SF LeBron James (28.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 5.4 APG in series) was able to bail his team out. With little help on the evening, James did everything he could to will Miami to a victory and in the end finished with 30 points (13-of-26 FG, 2-of-7 threes), eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a game-high +14 rating in 44 minutes of play. SG Dwyane Wade (15.4 PPG, 5.6 APG, 5.0 RPG in series) and PF Chris Bosh (12.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG in series) were nowhere to be found on the evening as they combined to score just 17 points on 6-of-15 FG. James is going to need help from his co-stars and so far they are yet to give it to him. Wade averaged 21.2 PPG on 52% FG in the regular season, but has just 13.9 PPG on 46% FG in the playoffs, failing to score 20 points in each of the past 12 contests. And Bosh has nearly has many fouls (16) as total rebounds (18) in this series. The player who impacted the game the most besides James was PF Udonis Haslem (8.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG in series). Haslem found himself open on the baseline throughout most of the second half where he was able to hit jumper after jumper on his way to 16 points (8-of-9 FG) and three rebounds in 26 minutes. PG Mario Chalmers (12.4 PPG, 3.6 APG in series) also provided some offense for Erik Spoelstra’s team with 12 points (5-of-12 FG) and a series-high six assists. In the two games at Indiana this series, Chalmers has scored an impressive 17.0 PPG on 10-of-20 shooting.
The Pacers played a great first half in Game 5, but they were unable to stop LeBron James in the second half and that was ultimately their downfall. As soon as things started going poorly on the defensive end for Indiana, they began to struggle mightily on offense, scoring just 35 points over the final two quarters. SF Paul George (20.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.4 APG in series) led the way for the Pacers with 27 points (11-of-19 FG, 5-of-8 threes), 11 rebounds and five assists. But he also committed five turnovers for the third straight contest. C Roy Hibbert (22.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG in series) also played a great game for Indiana, finishing with 22 points (8-of-14 FG, 6-of-6 FT), six rebounds and two blocks. This duo combined for all 23 points that the team scored in the first quarter. PF David West (18.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG in series) also had solid numbers for Indiana, finishing with 17 points (7-of-16 FG) and eight rebounds, but he also tallied a game-worst rating of minus-19. PG George Hill (12.4 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.0 RPG in series) and SG Lance Stephenson (9.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG in series) provided nothing for Indiana, combining for just five points in the game on 2-of-11 FG. Hill had averaged 18.7 PPG in his previous three games before going 0-for-4 on Thursday night, finishing with one point and four assists, while Stephenson pumped in 20 points on 9-of-15 FG in Game 4 before notching more fouls (six) than points (four) on Thursday. The Pacers are going to need their starting backcourt to play much better in Game 6 if they are going to even up the series and extend their season.