Eastern Conference Game 6 Preview
CAN PACERS RALLY, OR DID G5 WIN JUST DELAY THE INEVITABLE
Late in the second quarter of Wednesday Night’s Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals, it looked like the season had ended for the Indiana Pacers. They were trailing the Miami Heat by several points even though LeBron James had only played a handful of minutes due to foul trouble. They were turning the ball over and missing shots, in a way that was reminiscent of their ugliest postseason losses. And, of course, Miami had all the motivation in the world to end the series right then so they could rest up for the NBA Finals that begin next week.
- James got into even WORSE foul trouble in the second half thanks to some questionable officiating (though, Pacers fans would argue that was just a bunch of make-up calls for what should have happened earlier in the series).
- The rest of the Heat got tired because of the extra minutes they were playing while carrying a heavier than usual load. A great second quarter was followed up by a poor third quarter.
- Paul George started raining down points from the heavens no matter how many hands were in his face.
- Suddenly…the Pacers were not just alive, but were thriving. They’re still a big underdog to come all the way back because they’re the inferior team facing the three-time Eastern champs. But, there now is some hope!
- Miami is rattled. This is a team that typically bounces back well off a loss…but that’s actually less common when they’re rattled. LeBron makes mistakes when he gets mad. Dwyane Wade starts to force shots. If those guys are worried too much about Lance Stephenson, it just frees up George to take more shots.
- Indiana has some swagger back. It’s been gone since Game One. There’s no way you can take down Miami in a big game unless you’ve got attitude and confidence. Maybe Indiana will lay down if things start to go South (which they did during long stretches of both earlier games in Miami in this series). But, at least there’s a chance now that they’ll keep battling until the end. What looked like a 0% chance to survive the series late in the second quarter Wednesday is now maybe 5% to play next week…but possibly better than 50% to stay within seven points Friday.
Las Vegas Line: Miami by 7, total of 183
The market is still in about the same place it was hours before the first two games at this site. There’s no groundswell of support for an Indiana comeback. But, there also isn’t a widespread assumption that Miami is going to CRUSH in another home blowout. They won the first two games here by 12 points each. The Vegas line is still five points below that.
Still Plenty of Time to Get in on the Playoff Profits
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JIM HURLEY has already let us know he’s expecting an easy cover here. He thinks the line is off by at least five points in one direction or the other. And, there are rumblings about a possible Over/Under release as well depending on what the most recent computer simulations are projecting. This “extra” game that wasn’t expected to even happen now provides an extra chance to GET THE MONEY!
You can purchase the final word for Friday right here at the website with your credit card. In addition to basketball, we’re looking at baseball matchups like: LA Angels at Oakland, San Francisco at St. Louis, Texas at Washington, Atlanta at Miami (now huge in a divisional race!), and Tampa Bay at Boston. Baseball is heating up just as the basketball schedule is lightening up.
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We’ll be back with you Saturday to preview Game Six of San Antonio/Oklahoma City. Should Indiana spring an upset Friday in the baskets, our Sunday edition of the NOTEBOOK will preview Game Seven. Otherwise, we’ll look at Sunday Night’s TV game on ESPN featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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