WORDS BY GELO GONZALES
Miami Heat Vs. Indiana Pacers
The common thing these two teams have is that they’re both ready for a challenge. And both will get what they wish for in this round—after dispatching their opponents in just five games in the first round.
For the Heat, it might seem like it’s just another step towards the NBA Finals. But they can’t treat it that way. They’ll have to play more cohesively than they did against the Knicks who never really had anyone to challenge Heat stars Lebron and Wade. Falling into the mindset that these Pacers are just going to go belly up will be their downfall.
The Pacers will have their hands full in this series, needless to say. But they’re a team that can match the Heat’s athleticism. They know this, and their victory over the Magic—Howard-less though their opponents were—have only ignited their confidence. They’re hungry, they look comfortable in this position, and are eager to test their mettle against the “superteam” that people have made Miami out to be.
Love highlights? This series won’t be short on those. Wade, Lebron and the rest of the Miami crew will be speeding down the court, with Danny Granger, Paul George, and George Hill never far from them.
The 6-foot-9 Paul George will get the task of defending Wade while Granger and Lebron will be going toe-to-toe as the script goes. On paper, the Pacers have the right guys for the job, the job of slowing down these tested superstars. That we get to see Lebron and Wade try to overcome worthy adversaries will be a treat for the fans. It’s up to those two though which fans will be cheering at the end.
On the other hand, Granger and Paul George can see this as a chance to be mentioned in the same air as their Heat counterparts. Unlikely, yes, but that should be enough motivation for them.
Whereas the Heat are dependent on their stars, the Pacers have the advantage of depth, and size in the middle. Off the Pacers’ bench, the speedy Barbosa and Darren Collison can provide some firepower. At center is 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert, an All-Star center, and will make life harder for the already undersized Heat frontcourt.
The Pacers have a real chance. But they have to step up big time if they are to take this series away from Miami.