Well here we are ladies and gentlemen. We are back at the Post Up, and we have the match-up that everyone predicted would happen since this match-up was seen last year. In this edition of the Post Up, we will be looking at this match-up, as we have every other in the Eastern Conference, and we will try to predict who will be moving on to the NBA Finals. So let’s dive in.
Match-Up: Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat
The Set Up:
Okay, I know what you are all going to say, that I did not pick either of these teams to be here and I will admit I am wrong. However, with that being said, my Miami pick was more a hope rather than a true prediction. I knew that Miami was going to win all along, but I was hoping that the Nets would be able to rough the Heat up and bother them enough to maybe have a miracle happen. However, as everyone knows the Nets are old and Deron Williams is grossly overrated (yeah been saying that all my life and now I hope people can see that it is true), and the Nets did not stand a chance in that series. The Heat were in control the entire way and after LeBron went off, there was no hope for the Nets to do anything close to tickling the Heats angry bone. The Heat are coasting through the playoffs at the moment and have a lot of momentum that they are bringing into this series.
The Pacers losing to the Wizards in my prediction, unlike the Heat prediction, was 100% meaningful. I truly thought that the Wizards would be able to pull it out because of the struggles that the Pacers, minus George, were having. Unfortunately for me, the Pacers woke up, and were able to figure out the Wizards and toss them aside. The Pacers are still with their issues, but it seems to be as if they are entering their form again from the beginning of the season. They did beat the Wizards, but the Pacers looked as if they were still trying to figure things out. Roy Hibbert finally decided that he was going to play basketball again, and that made for the Pacers to advance to the Finals. Even though the Pacers won, massive credit has to be given to the Wizards for what they did this postseason. Even though they are gone they still did a better job than anyone would have thought and they are not fake, but real contenders next season. The Pacers are feeling good right now for moving on, but they have a lot of weight on their shoulders because they said they could beat Miami so long as they had home court. Well you got what you want Indiana, now it is time to put up or shut up.
What it Boils Down To:
Roy Hibbert and Heat Big Men
For those that have been reading these articles, you know that for every Heat and Pacer match-up in these playoffs, I have chosen Wade and Hibbert, respectively, each time. Wade has shown that he will not be an issue because he looks to be healthy and he is playing as if he is healthy. Hibbert on the other hand, has not gained such graces in my eyes. Hibbert, as I have said in the past, is unbelievably crucial to everything that the Pacers do and when he is off his game, more times than not, the team will lose. Hibbert is the defensive anchor, and when he is not able to rebound or play defense at all, the Pacers defense collapses and they are forced to out-score a team to win, which they are not built to do. Hibbert had an overall good series against the Wizards. In game 2 he was THE man and was killing everyone on both ends of the floor, and in the other games he was playing pretty well. The issue was that in games 1 and 5 of the series, he was not there. Even though he had a good series, his struggles were still there and that is a concern. Hibbert has to play close to how he played in game 2 of the Wizards series every night for the Pacers to have a chance in this series against the Heat.
Like I said previously, Wade has earned my respect and trust going forward and I do not think that his health concerns will be an issue for the rest of Miami’s run in the playoffs. That being said, I think that their biggest concern is the area that the Heat need to capitalize on in order to beat the Pacers, and that is with their big men. As everyone knows, the Pacers live and die by the defensive anchor that is Roy Hibbert. Atlanta knew that and were able to exploit that and almost win the series, but unfortunately, they did not have the talent elsewhere to compete. The Wizards knew that, but even with all the talent they had, the skill of the Wizards forced Hibbert to wake up and play his best and this helped the Pacers win their series. The Miami Heat have to realize that Hibbert is the key or curse of the Pacers and the big men need to play big. Specifically, Birdman needs to get under Hibbert’s skin and Oden needs to show the world why Miami picked him up at all. The hatred and anger towards the Heat will inevitably wake Hibbert up, but if the Heat big men can stomp out that anger and make Hibbert give one of his patent 0 points and 0 rebound games, the Heat will be sitting very pretty.
Miami Heat in 7
Unlike with my semi-final predictions, I am going to take this one a lot more seriously, in terms of picking who I think will win and not who I hope for. I would love to see the Pacers advance, but Miami is just too good. LeBron, whether you believe it or not, is angry. He is angry with how he lost the MVP and he is looking to show the world he is still the best. Unlike in Cleveland, LeBron could go off but with the lack of talent around him it did not matter. In Miami, he is still going off, but with Wade, Bosh, Cole, etc. he is able to win because there are others around him to help. The Heat and Pacers have some bad blood between them and this will make it go to 7, it would be a shame for everyone if it didn’t. However, even though I believe Hibbert will have a good series, and George will continue to play like the MVP he has all postseason, I think LeBron will say no. LeBron will dictate every game and he will not allow his team to lose in the Eastern Conference Finals to a team that has struggled to get to this point. Don’t get me wrong, the Pacers are a very good team and will have a chance to win it, but LeBron will not have any of it and that is why we will see the Heat representing the East for a fourth year in a row in the NBA Finals.
There you have it, do you agree, do you not? What is it that you are thinking? Let us know by commenting and giving us feedback on everything and anything! We also ask that you Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, and Subscribe on Reddit.
All stats and information courtesy of espn.com