No. 1 seed Miami Heat vs. No. 3 seed Indiana Pacers
The Heat exploded by the shorthanded Bulls to get to this point, while the Pacers bounced the Knicks in six hard-fought games. These two teams met in the eastern semis last season, and it was INTENSE. Miami managed to scrape by the Pacers in six games and went on to win an NBA championship. The Heat are the best team in the NBA again this year, and keeping them out of the Finals will be an immense, if not impossible, task. The Heat have only lost one game so far in the playoffs, and the idea of them losing four to Indiana is somewhat unfathomable. Erik Spoelstra’s team has been so dominant, in fact, that they have not even had to play their starters that many minutes. Only three Heat players are averaging over 30 minutes per game since the start of the postseason. But, Indiana is a good enough team that this series shouldn’t be completely one-sided. The Pacers are extremely well coached, have plenty of depth, and boast a towering front court. They also managed to win their season series with Miami 2-1. They proved too physically tough down low for the Knicks in the semis, and Roy Hibbert and David West make up a duo of bigs that could give any team fits. Paul George continues to come into his own for Indiana as well. The Pacers will indeed give Miami a tough time at points in this series; the cakewalk the Heat enjoyed in rounds one and two is over. BUT, the Heat are still the best team in the Association by a pretty large margin and it will take a miracle, or four, for the Pacers to spring a mountainous upset. Paul George will have some nice one-on-one battles with the King, the Pacers will maybe win a game or two in front of some uniformly yellow crowds at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and then the Heat will predictably move along. Let’s call it in six games. Another NBA Finals appearance for the Heat seems to be coming in the not so distant future.
Pick: Heat in 6