The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat face off tonight in what could determine who wins this series. The game five winner has gone on to win a series 80% of the time, so it’s very important to pick up the victory here. For the Pacers, they have some momentum on their side after taking care of the Heat in game four, and especially when they had to stop a couple of runs by the Heat in that one. They started out on fire, but slowly died out from that. But were still able to control the game in their favor. Tonight, they have to come out with an intensity and passion like in game four. But the key is holding that. What other keys are there for the Pacers to win this game?
1. Intensity at the start
With the game in Miami, you know the Heat will be riled up and ready to go. Even with Lebron James getting fined for his flop in game four, I believe he’ll be even more ready to go if that’s possible. I think he’s going to come out and get down to the post like game three. It’s important for the Pacers’ defense to be ready to go at the start. The defense usually leads to good offense for the Pacers, so they will have to weather some early storm by the Heat in this one.
2. Lebron James Breakout Game
The biggest concern I have for this game is the Lebron James signature game. We’ve seen it before. Last year, the Pacers were up 2-1 and even up in game four, then Lebron James took over. He got some help from Dwayne Wade as well, but mostly that was James doing his thing. He did it against the Boston Celtics, and he’s been known to do it at other key times. Tonight’s game is one of those times that I am very nervous the Pacers won’t be able to handle what James is going to bring. It’s all about stopping everyone else then, and HOPEFULLY slowing down James at some point. But I have a feeling we see another gear to James tonight, so Paul George has to be ready to defend.
3. Roy Hibbert Time
I say the Pacers need to get Roy Hibbert involved early in this game. The Heat haven’t had an answer for Hibbert, so why not? He’s going to have to be huge on the boards as he’s been all series, and tonight could be a night where he’ll have to be even bigger. If he can get 20 points and 15 rebounds, the Pacers should have a good shot at winning. Even getting those tip outs to keep a rebound alive would be huge in tonight’s game.
4. Paul George Time..as well
Paul George is going to need to be big on the offensive end. There’s no doubt, he’s lagging on that side of things because of working so hard on Lebron James. But tonight’s the night that I want to see George hit for 20-10. That would be a great indication of the Pacers having a shot at stealing this game. He’s going to have to continue to be strong on the defensive end, but if he could deliver offensively, that’s great too.
5. Pacers Five versus Heat Three
The Pacers starting five has been big in this series, even getting the majority of the points throughout. Tonight, I want to see all starters in double figures. I want to see the starters set the tone for this game by making that extra pass, grabbing that loose rebound, stealing a game in Miami. IF the starters can come out and set the tone, this game will be in the Pacers’ favor. But they all need to come alive tonight, and then we’ll see where the chips fall in game six.