Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat
Tip-off: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 – 8:30 PM ET
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
When Dwyane Wade was living his rookie season it came to an end with a difficult playoff loss versus the Indiana Pacers. In 2005, the Miami Heat were headed to the Eastern Conference finals and were absolutely sure that an NBA championship was in the cards for them.
However, as YouWager bettors might recall Wade hurt his rib cage on a simple crossover dribble during that East title series, and Miami’s season ended with a Game 7 home defeat versus the Detroit Pistons.
The 31 year-old’s been to the East finals three times since, prevailing in them all, and tonight will look to take a first step toward a fourth conference championship when his team play host to Indiana in Game 1 of their playoff rematch from a year ago.
For Wade as well as for Udonis Haslem, this will be the fifth time they play in East finals in nine years.
For LeBron James, it’s a fifth trip to this round in the past seven years, now three straight with the Heat after a pair of trips to the East finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers. For Ray Allen, it’s a fourth East title-round trip in six years, the first three of those coming with the Boston Celtics.
It appears that the Heat have the experience.
For Indiana things are different. Only one of their current player has ever appeared in a conference-final game, and that was backup big man Ian Mahinmi, who played exactly 71 seconds in one game of the 2011 West title series without so much as taking a shot. Even so, this team is not ready to be bothered by the fact that this stage is a new place for them.
The Pacers took the Heat to six games last season, leading the series 2-1 at one point, and left an impact on Miami with words, actions and play. The series was always physical, at times bloody, and it took some superb efforts by Wade and James for the Heat – a team that has to perfomr without Chris Bosh for 5 1/2 of those six games — to put Indiana away.
According to the NBA basketball odds Miami is favorite to win and is apparently not putting much stock in that it was Indiana who prevailed in two of the three games between the teams this season.