Well, well, well, it looks like we have ourselves a good ol' fashioned Mexican standoff here . After eight months of basketball, the Miami Heat find themselves right where they always figured they would be, four games from their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance, with only the Indiana Pacers standing in their way. After all the ups and downs, we will get the Eastern Conference Finals rematch we all anticipated seeing since October at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday in Indianapolis.
The Heat come into the East Finals coasting, having won eight of the nine games they have played...and they are undefeated at home. The Pacers on the other hand? Not so much. They have been a total soap opera. The Pacers were brought to the brink of elimination before defeating the eighth-seeded Hawks in seven games, then had an up and down bi-polar six games series win against the Wizards in the semi-finals. None of that matters now, because regardless of how the two teams got here; here they are.
So as you gear up for the game -- to be televised on ABC -- and the sleepless next two weeks of your life, here are five reasons why the Miami Heat will once again crush the Indiana Pacers hopes and dreams, sending them back to Paul George's boat to catch more bait sized fish.
1. Dwyane Wade is fully healthy, just like the Heat planned.
"OMG why isn't Dwyane Wade playing against the Celtics in November?!". This is why, don't you ever doubt the maintenance Spogram ! Wade seems to be his healthiest all season at the perfect time, evidenced by his 12 points in the first quarter for the first time in 179 games against the Nets Wednesday. Oh, and Wade has a history of breaking the Indiana Pacers backs, it's a tradition of his.
2. Udonis Haslem is bout' that life.
Udonis Haslem is rested and ready to add another chapter to the badassery that has been his Miami Heat career, David West and Roy Hibbert got problems. Many thought Greg Oden would be the man tasked the job to stop Roy Hibbert when we got to this point in the year, nope, that's your boy. In the limited minutes Udonis Haslem has covered the Pacers giant, the Heat have outscored the Pacers by more than 20 points. Don't you ever count out your boy UD, he's going to be huge in this series for the Miami Heat.
Chris Bosh since joining the Miami Heat has gradually turned into a three point shooter, to the point that now it seems thats what he is best at. In his first playoffs with the Miami Heat 1.4% of his shots were three-pointers, in these 2014 playoffs that number is 33.3%. The Pacers have shown to be most frustrated by teams that stretch the floor, and Bosh is doing that more than he has ever done it before this year, so it seems to me the Pacers are in for a heaping helping of Chris Bosh's awesome.
4. Erik Spoelstra sees dead Pacers.
Erik Spoelstra is the adjustment whisperer when facing the Indiana Pacers. Spoelstra sees the chess board four moves ahead of Frank Vogel, and isn't afraid to flip the script when it comes to Heat lineup changes. With Haslem having rested the entire Nets series, he has one of this moves in the holster ready to fire. One of the most advantageous things about the Miami Heat bench is how diverse it is, expect Spo to use that to his liking all series long. Whether it be spreading them out with James Jones at times, or pounding them with UD and Birdman at the exact needed points in the series, Spo is sure to make the right move.
5. LeBron James, that's why, stupid.
The Pacers live by their "built not bought" motto. The Miami Heat live by their "LOL we bought LeBron James" motto. Four years, four East Finals. Whatever needs to be done, in whatever fashion it needs to happen in, LeBron James will ultimately figure out what it is, and absolutely do it in the greatest way imaginable. Need him to score 50? He can do that. Need the best point guard in the game on a certain night? He's a NBA Transformer. Need him to lock down the other teams All-Star? Sure. As long as LeBron James is on the Miami Heat you can never expect a team to beat them four of seven times, it's proven to be a foolish assumption in the past.
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ECF schedule: GM1 - Sun @ Ind, 3:30pm, ABC. GM2 - Tues @ Ind, 8:30pm, ESPN. GM3 - 5/24 @ Mia, 8:30pm, ESPN. GM4 - 5/26 @ Mia, 8:30pm, ESPN.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 16, 2014
ECF schedule (if necessary): *GM5 - 5/28 @ Indiana, 8:30pm, ESPN. *GM6 - 5/30 @ Miami, 8:30pm, ESPN. *GM7 - 6/1 @ Indiana, 8:30pm, ESPN.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 16, 2014