Miami Take Control

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/AFP
The Heat are on track to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/AFP
Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami
Tuesday May 27 – 10:30 AM (AEST)

Form
Heat:
WWLWW
Pacers: LWWLL

Game 1 definitely was speed bump on the way to the Finals for the Miami Heat . After dropping the first game to the Indiana Pacers , the Heat has gone two-in-a-row to lead the series. It started off as LeBron James v Paul George as the highlight of the series, but now it seems it is James v Lance Stephenson.

Miami was clinical. After only a minor setback in the first quarter, the Heat dominated the Pacers until the final second, largely in thanks to James and Dwayne Wade. The best thing about James is his consistency. Most times, he plays out of his skin. Even on a bad day, he still posts double figures. Sunday was no different. With 26 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, James led the way, playing sublime basketball. Wade wasn’t far behind him, notching 23 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Then you bring Ray Allen into the mix. The 17-year veteran came on half way through the first quarter and immediately made an impact, stealing the ball from George Hill. Finishing the game with 16 points, “Ray Ray” really wants another ring. Coach Erik Spoelstra has again named an unchanged line-up.

Stephenson is starting to get under James’s skin, and he knows it. A little bit of sledging is always on the agenda and Stephenson has taken it upon himself to target LBJ. But he needs to back up his sledging with some solid performances. The thing with the Pacers is that while they have their stars, it’s a team effort which gets them over the line. With all but one starter posting double figures, Indiana just needs to cover the paint better. Stephenson finished with a double-double, posting 10 points and 11 rebounds. Paul George was a little quieter than usual, with only 17 points and 4 assists. Coach Frank Vogel is sticking strong with his team, deciding to go with the same 13-man squad.

If the Pacers are to be any hope on Tuesday, they need to control the ball. 26 points off 19 turnovers is just not good enough in the finals. Indiana has been knocked out of the finals by the Heat 2 years in a row, but they have the stars to halt the streak. The “Big 3” is the only thing standing in their way.

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