Indiana Pacers (4) vs Miami Heat (5)

The Miami Heat won the season series against the Indiana Pacers 3-1. The Indiana Pacers were a solid 6-2 in the seeding games. TJ Warren became their leader after putting on scoring clinics with games of 53, 34,32, and 39. However, Warren was finally shut down by Heat small forward/shooting guard Jimmy Butler. Butler held Warren to just 12 points in Miami’s 114-92 victory over the Pacers under the bubble. Despite the Heat having a winning record against the Pacers, this series will be an all out brawl to the finish. Miami has two all-stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Butler (17) and Adebayo (15) combined for 32 points per game playing the Pacers. The Pacers counter that with small forward TJ Warren and big man Myles Turner. Turner has averaged a lackluster 10 points per game against the Heat. Warren has also scored a paltry 10 points per game in this match up.

The Pacers will need a lot more out of Warren and Turner in order to beat the Miami Heat 4 times. In addition to the forward-center match ups it’s also worth taking a look at the guard play in this series. The key guard for the Pacers is none other than Victor Olidipo. Olidipo is averaging 14 points against the Heat but he too will have to up that output in order for Indiana to win this series. Point guard Malcolm Brogdon also averages 14 per game against Miami. The Heat have an array of guards to counter both Olidipo and Brogdon in the form of Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn. Dragic comes into this series averaging 13 points and 6 assists against the Pacers. Tyler Herro scores 15 a game in this match up and his lit the Pacers up from deep hitting better than 46% of his threes. Duncan Robinson puts up 12 points per game and hits a solid 41% from 3 point land against the Pacers. Lastly, Nunn scores 18 per game against these pacers.

The key match ups will be Jimmy Butler vs. TJ Warren, Bam Adebayo facing Myles Turner, and an array of Miami’s guards facing off against Victor Olidipo. The possbile X factors in this series appear to be point guard Malcom Brogdon of the Pacers and Miami shooting guard/ small forward Andre Iguodala. The two teams are equal to one another even though the Heat won the season series. For the Heat to win they’re going to have hit their 3’s and make many assists while playing team basketball. Bam Adebayo will have to command the boards and Jimmy Butler will have to score 20 or more per game. For the Pacers to win, they’ll have to make the Heat turn the ball over often and they will have to run them off the threes. Myles Turner will have to have a high double double, Olidipo will have to average 18 or more and TJ Warren will definitely have to be the scoring machine he was in most of the seeding games.

All in all, this series is too hard to call. That’s why the play the games and both of these teams will leave it all on the court.