2013 Eastern Conference Finals: Pacers Are The Newest Challengers To The Champs

Indiana is the last hurdle to the NBA Finals for the Miami Heat. Do the Pacers have enough to pull off the upset?

Barring an injury to LeBron James, the only question in this series is if Indiana will make the Heat work for their inevitable trip to the Finals.

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Roy Hibbert’s postseason numbers:

Points: 14.0

Blocks: 2.5

Rebounds: 9.6

Field goal percentage: 47 percent

Miami coasted past the Bucks in round one, the Bulls stole Game 1 in the second round, but that was it. The Pacers bottled up Carmelo Anthony in the second round, however, it should be a different story trying to slow King James.

James has a better supporting cast — Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would be No. 1 options on most teams. The Heat has the experience to brush aside Indiana’s challenge. And if all else fails, they have James, the best player in the NBA.

His numbers are unreal, yet you can expect him to post them every night. A 27-point scorer usually doesn’t dish more than seven assists. And usually someone who drops seven dimes doesn’t snag seven rebounds per contest. But James does.

Indiana’s defensive tenacity will key on James and if that happens, Wade and Bosh will surely pick up the slack if James falters. Center Roy Hibbert must control the paint. David West must as well, because Miami’s only weakness is interior play.

It is hard to imagine the Pacers winning four out of seven games. Paul George has the size and perimeter play to bother Miami. Yet the Heat has the same thing in James.

Miami has too much talent, experience and the league MVP to lose this series.

The pick: Heat in five.

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