Game 1, Sunday, May 13 at Miami, 3:30 PM on ABC
Countdown to Tipoff: Game 1 - Pacers (0-0) vs. Heat (0-0)
By Conrad Brunner
Scouting the Pacers
Though the underdog role is available, the Pacers aren't interested in claiming it. Coach Frank Vogel has preached confidence and belief since taking the job midway through the 2010-11 season and, given the results, there's no reason to change the approach now. The Pacers finished just one slot and four games behind Miami in the Eastern Conference standings during the regular season and have a better record (21-9 to 19-10) since the trade deadline).
The Pacers looked solid in beating a shorthanded, undersized Orlando team 4-1 in the first round. The defense limited the Magic to 83.8 points per game and Indiana dominated inside, winning the rebounding battle in all five games and outscoring Orlando by 76 in the paint. Darren Collison came on strong off the bench, averaging 13.3 points and 5.7 assists in the last three games. Danny Granger scored at least 20 in the last three, and Roy Hibbert averaged a double-double (11.0 points, 10.8 rebounds) while setting a franchise record with 19 blocks in a five-game series.
Miami is a different challenge entirely. The Heat won three of four regular-season meetings -- the first two in embarrassing blowouts. The last two were much more competitive, with the Pacers losing in overtime before winning the final meeting by 15. Danny Granger struggled mightily against James, averaging 13.3 points and shooting just 34 percent during the regular season. Paul George was productive (13.3 points, .457 shooting) but the Pacers generally struggled to get their offense going against Miami, shooting .404 and averaging 92.3 points.
Scouting the Heat
It always begins with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, two of the most dominant talents in the game, and so it will in this second-round matchup. Those two combined to average 49.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists against the Pacers during the regular season -- and the thing is, that's just about their normal production.
Like the Pacers, Miami is coming off an impressive first-round performance, losing just once by two points to the Knicks while winning the other four games by an average of 18. The Heat has won 12 consecutive postseason games against Eastern Conference opponents, and 23 of their last 32 wins have come by double digits.
Indiana's frontcourt tandem of David West and Roy Hibbert was thoroughly dominant against Orlando, using their size and strength to overpower the undersized Magic. Though Miami starts a smallish frontcourt in Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem, it's a different challenge entirely. Both are athletic defenders with strong mid-range games that can pull the Indiana big men away from the basket to create driving lanes for James and Wade. Indiana will no doubt want to establish its power-post game right away, while Miami would like nothing better than to deny the Pacers their greatest strength.
"People don't really know about us. We're the best-kept secret. I don't know what channel we're going to be on—we'll have our first ABC game in awhile. So people are going to find out about us." - Hibbert
"A very good team. A team that if you know basketball, you knew they were going to get better as the year went on. You've seen them getting better as the year went on. So it's a very underrated team, but the teams that's playing them understand how good they are." – Wade on the Pacers
For the Pacers, none are reported. For the Heat, none are reported.
The 3:30 p.m. game will be telecast on ABC. The radio broadcast will air on WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Bobby "Slick" Leonard. Immediately following the network telecast, FOX Sports Indiana will broadcast a 30 minute postgame show live from Miami.
Next Home Game
The Pacers host the Miami Heat in Game 3 (Round 2, Home Game 1) on Thursday, May 10. Tickets are not yet on sale to the general public. Learn how to get priority access to tickets »
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