Photo Credit: Rueters
My Pick: Pacers in 7
This series comes down to matchups, and I think that the Pacers have the ability to get the best of the Heat.
Point Guard: George Hill v. Mario Chalmers
This is a tough one. Typically, I would go with George Hill, but since his concussion, I am skeptical about how he will perform. However, I do think that he will rebound from his poor Game 6 performance in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and get the best of Mario Chalmers in this matchup. Though Chalmers can score, and plays fairly good defense, Hill has the ability to go off, and the victim might very well be Chalmers.
Shooting Guard: Lance Stephenson v. Dwayne Wade
No question here. Even with his stellar performance in the final game against the Knicks, Stephenson will not outperform Wade consistently. That being said, Stephenson has the motor to keep up with Wade, and force him out of his comfort zone. Wade is a Top 5 player, but Stephenson WILL make this series difficult for Wade. Nonetheless, Wade still gets the nod.
Small Forward: Paul George v. Lebron James
It’s Lebron. That’s it. Paul George has come into his own this year, but Lebron is just too big and powerful for George to contain. The series hinges right here though: If Paul George can keep James from having 30+ points in a game, and the rest of the matchups hold as I’ve described them, then the Pacers will win. Allowing Lebron his average will produce a win for the Pacers in a game-to-game setting. That being said, 26 PPG is quite an average.
Power Forward: David West v. Udonis Haslem
This is where Indiana will win games. David West is far better than Udonis Haslem and if he can get his game going early, the Heat have trouble on their hands. West has power and finesse which very few big men in this league have. Watch for West to have a big series.
Center: Roy Hibbert v. Chris Bosh
Two all-star caliber centers going head to head. But there is more to this matchup than that. If Hibbert can disturb the shots of others as he showed throughout the series with the Knicks, then the Pacers defense will be highly effective. Hibbert also has a great touch and though Bosh is a great player as well, I think Hibbert’s size is the advantage in this match up.
Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Norris Cole and Chris “Birdman” Andersen. Battier and Andersen will keep the Pacers’ bench scoring to a minimum. Allen is instant offense and Cole is a spark. The only decent bench players that Indiana has are Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough, and I just do not think these players will be enough to win this matchup.
Summary: If the Pacers keep Lebron to his averages and the bench presence to a minimum, they will win. If the Heat can keep Pacers’ big men from dominating the glass and getting easy buckets, they will win. I think the Pacers will surprise the Heat in 7.