SBM Sports: The Indiana Pacers Have the #1 Seed…Can They Beat Miami?

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pg13 dunk over heat

In one of the most anticlimactic playoff races in a while, it appears the Indiana Pacers will outlast the Miami Heat for the number one seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Pacers loudly proclaimed this to be their goal to start the season. They pushed Miami to Game 7 in last year’s playoffs, and if that happens again, they’ll be hosting the series clincher this year.

Now what?

For starters, I’m sure when the Pacers envisioned themselves clinching the number one seed, they didn’t think it would be like this.

Frankly, they have sucked lately. They are 3-6 since beating Miami by one at home last month. Those three wins were against Detroit (bad), Milwaukee (worse), and…the Thunder(???). The win against the Thunder proves there is still a good team living somewhere in Indiana. Despite how bad things have been, I think Indiana is still a lock for the Eastern Conference Finals. Here’s why:

The #1 seed matters to them –

At 35-6, the Pacers will finish this season with the best home record in the league. Despite two blowout losses to San Antonio and Atlanta at home the last two weeks, the win against Oklahoma City Sunday is an example of how good this team can be at home.

In any season, you’d take the league’s best home team with home court advantage in the playoffs. If that team has to get a win, you’d be smart to value the 35 wins over a handful of losses. No need to be short-sighted here. Indiana has some issues, but they defend their home court well. That’s a huge asset heading into the playoffs.

The game slows down in the Playoffs –

Another reason to believe in Indiana is the natural tendency toward a slower pace and shorter bench in the postseason.

Indiana made a few moves to shore its bench last offseason. They added Luis Scola, CJ Watson, and Chris Copeland among others. They almost broke the internet when they traded for Evan Turner at the deadline. None of those guys have panned out exactly as planned. That doesn’t matter as much in the playoffs, when starters regularly play over 40 minutes a game. hibbert board

All playoff teams get better by virtue of their crappier players playing less. That matters most to Indiana and Miami. Their benches aren’t great…but they have the league’s best five man crew (Indiana) and the world’s best player (Miami). So who cares if neither team can play 10 guys? They won’t do it anyway.

A slower pace also favors the Pacers because their offense has been the main culprit in their slide lately. Zach Lowe covered it in agonizing detail if you’re interested. Suffice it to say, a slower pace and lower scores are just what the Pacers need. If they can get to 90 points, they’ll be in just about every playoff game. This leads to the third reason…

Their defense is still very, very good –

This is the main reason not to count out Indiana. Their defense is still better than everyone’s offense (except Miami and San Antonio).

And it was on full display against Oklahoma City.

They outrebounded the Thunder by 14.

They held Russell Westbrook to 7/23 shooting.

David West sealed the game blocking Kevin Durant’s three pointer.

Basically, they were the Pacers of the first half of the season. The team we all thought would challenge Miami.

Looks like they’re ready to do just that in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It’s playoff time! Do you think Indiana is back to its old self, or will they fall to Miami?  Do you think they even make it to the ECF to face Miami?

Hit the comments and let me know!

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  • Mr. SD

    They probably cant even beat Atlanta..

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      Lol, I’ll put some money up on that one.
      It’s 10x funnier reading that comment next to your avi btw.

      • Mr. SD

        Aiight aiight they will get past the Hawks but mark my words either BK or my beloved Bulls will have something to say come second round!

      • Rich J.

        I was also humored by how the avi expression goes with the comment. lol.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

    I thought it was silly how everyone assumed the only thing between Pacers and the Finals this year was a game 7 in Miami (because Miami is such an electric fan base right). I don’t think they beat Brooklyn, if they do i think the Heat get them outta here in 6.

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      Yeah the better team won last year. They could have played that Game 7 on the moon, Miami would’ve won. They messed up in Game 1(?) when Hibbert came out and LeBron diddy bopped down the lane for that game winner.
      My lean right now is Heat over Pacers. I gotta hash it all out for next week’s post though. The biggest thing to me is that the Heat aren’t as good this year as last. The door is cracked for someone to take them out in the East.

  • Jay

    If anything, they shoulda just phoned it in to get an easier trip to the ECF. Atlanta can be downright dangerous when the 3s fall, and Chicago/Brooklyn is going to take whoever to 7 in round 2.

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      Yeah I think the Heat are A-OK with that 2-seed. Can’t admit it, but this is by far the easier path to the ECF.

  • Soulflower

    As a die hard Heat fan, I am calling the Heat over the Pacers in 7, but we’re going to have to work our buts off for every game we win.

    • http://singleblackmale.org October’s First

      There ain’t no such thing as a die hard Heat fan.

      • Soulflower

        Too funny, I almost laughed out loud at work. :) My bosses and a good friend have been season ticket holders since The Heat’s Inaugural season, so I beg to differ with you. I do agree that Wade is on his last legs (no pun intended) so he will have to put on his big boy boxers and step it up.
        I also do not want the Wizards anywhere near my HEAT, expecially in the first round.

        • http://singleblackmale.org October’s First

          The problem is that it’s impossible to be “die hard” about something that the city hasn’t consistently taken seriously.

          You can be a fan, but die hard… For the most part that organization has been irrelevant. People do not show up to home games like others do in “die hard” cities. People are more there to be seen than to actually cheer for the team. The second Lebron, Wade and Bosh aren’t there and the Heat aren’t in the playoffs, you’ll see people just going because it’s a party. Not because of basketball.

          Last point, there are tons of people who have season tickets to teams because they make the investment and cheer for the home team. I’ve seen people move to Atlanta and get Hawks/Falcons season tickets who are Redskins fans to the death.

        • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

          “For the most part that organization has been irrelevant. People do not show up to home games like others do in “die hard” cities. People are more there to be seen than to actually cheer for the team. The second Lebron, Wade and Bosh aren’t there and the Heat aren’t in the playoffs, you’ll see people just going because it’s a party. Not because of basketball.”
          ^^ Could also be said about the Lakers this season, lol.

  • http://singleblackmale.org October’s First

    Can the Pacers beat the Heat? Yes and they probably will. You made a good point and it’s important that we talk about it at some point. Wade missed mad games this year and played less minutes to save himself for the playoffs. That neglects something called, conditioning. I think if he has to dial it up to playing 40 minutes a game, he’ll get injured. I also think that teams get hot and cold and the Pacers will get hot again in the playoffs. They may have slumped towards the end of the year but they’ll catch fire again.

    Another thing, do not let the Washington Wizards end up matched up with the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. That series may go 6 and Miami might not be winning.

  • langwichartz

    I think the Pacers can win if they stick to the script which is play inside out with West and Hibbert, the Heat always struggle against teams with strong post players especially those who contribute offensively and defensively. The emergence of Paul George kinda works against them sometimes as they try to run the offense through him. I say go with whoever has the hot hand and you have the best shot, because all 5 starters can put the ball in the basket which makes it difficult for a defense to key in on one guy. Miami has the best player and that “it” factor come playoff time, but I’m looking forward to them meeting in the ECF this year if the other mediocre teams in the East don’t mess things up.

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      This makes sense as long as Hibbert figures out how to play NBA level basketball again. Otherwise, David West will have to step up.
      The whole team has to step up…so I wonder what Vogel is cooking up.

  • Soulflower

    HMMM, interesting first round was it not?

    • http://batman-news.com Joe Sargent

      The Pacers are NOT making me look good right now, lol. Although I think they’ll figure it out and get out of the first round. They will definitely be out next round at this rate though. Sheesh.