It’s Game 5 the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs and we will see the Miami Heat take on the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana. The game has a start time of 8:30 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN. Vegas odds have the Heat listed as 2 point favorites, while the total sits at 184.5.
Analysis: The Indiana Pacers came into the playoffs as the number 1 seed and they started out this series by winning game 1, but the Heat have since won 3 in a row to grab command of the series. The Pacers have struggled to score this year and it has followed them to the playoffs, where they are averaging just 91.5 ppg on 44.9% shooting. In the playoffs Paul George has led the team in scoring at 21.4 ppg, while also leading them in rebounding at 7.7 rpg. David West (14.8 ppg), Lance Stephenson (13.9 ppg) and George Hill (12.5 ppg) have also averaged in double figures for the Pacers. The Pacers have hung their hat on the defensive end of the floor this year and it has been no different in the playoffs, as they have allowed just 91.3 ppg on 42.6% shooting in the post-season so far.
The Miami Heat lost game 1 of this series, by 11 points, but they have since bounced back to win the last 3 in a row, with the last 2 being by double digits. The Heat can now close out the series on the road, but the home team is now 11-1 SU the last 12 meetings. The Heat have averaged 98.5 ppg on 49.4% shooting in the post-season so far and are led by Lebron James, who is averaging 28.8 ppg so far, while also leading the team in rebounding at 7.4 rpg and assists (5.0). Dwayne Wade (19.2 ppg) and Chris Bosh (14.1 ppg) have also averaged in double figures for the Heat so far. Defensively Miami was a solid bunch this year, allowing just 96.9 ppg (5th) on 45.7% shooting (16th) overall and in the playoffs they have been even better, allowing just 92.1 ppg on 46.1% shooting.
Pick: I will be going with the Under in this one. This game is being played at Indiana and with their backs against the wall I look for them to bring major defensive intensity. At home this year the Pacers have allowed just 89 pgg and they will need to play that kind of defense as their offense is very weak and has scored just 86.7 ppg in their last 3 games of this series. The Heat have brought their defense all playoffs long as they have allowed just 92.1 ppg in the post season thus far. The Under is 4-1 the last between these teams played in Indiana and I expect that trend to continue here.
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