OKLAHOMA CITY, May 13, 2012 — The first round is over (mostly), and for the most part the teams that most thought would win, did. Going into the playoffs many picked the Heat to win the championship and they still have a chance to do so. The Heat took out the Knicks in five games and now face the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers are a bit of an upstart team. They really don’t have any stars but were still able to earn the three seed in the East. They disposed of their first round opponent the Orlando Magic also in five games.
The odds are that the Heat will beat the Pacers, but anything can happen. So here are three reasons the Pacers have a chance to upset the Miami.
1. Roy Hibbert
Hibbert was an All-Star for the first time this season. He’s 7’2” and has averaged 11 points and 10.8 rebounds a game in the playoffs. These stats won’t blow anybody away, but the Heat’s weakness is down low. The Heat don’t have anybody that can compete in the post like that. Some have said that they will put Chris Bosh on Hibbert which might be effective. However, Bosh has been known to be soft.
2. Team Basketball
The Pacers don’t have any superstars. Hibbert is an All-Star and David West has been an All-Star. West is clutch and can be a go-to guy, but they don’t really have anybody that is someone that will take over a game. But we have seen the Heat be susceptible to teams. Not to stars, but teams. In the Finals last year, no doubt Dirk Nowitzki was the best player, but when Dirk struggled in game six, Jason Terry stepped up. The Mavericks also had the advantage at center in Tyson Chandler, a la Indiana.
The Heat have looked improved this year, but still at times have looked like they are not sure what to do at the end of games. The defensive stats for the playoffs so far favor Indiana. The Pacers are fourth in rebounds while Miami is 14th. The Pacers also have more blocks, while Miami has more steals. If the Pacers can out rebound and capitalize on second chances, they have a chance.
3. Over-confidence and Looking ahead
The Heat are supposed to cruise past a team like Indiana with little playoff experience. So why would they take this seriously? This series should be no problem. Remember last year after they beat the Celtics and LeBron looked like he had just won a championship? The Celtics could be the Heat’s next opponent. What if Miami is looking ahead?
The Heat will probably take care of business, but the Pacers have a chance. The pieces are there and anything can happen. An injury could occur, a team thinks they have it in the bag and look up, and suddenly they’ve lost.
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