The NBA’s best new rivalry now demands a climactic game seven in a series that has been marked more by those who have played poorly than those who have shined. Miami had a chance to put this series away and then watched as LeBron James did everything in his power to make it so while Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade struggled mightily. The Pacers seem to have adopted a smart strategy of shutting everyone else down and hoping that LBJ does not beat them too badly.
Last night it worked all too well.
The Heat and Pacers have gone back and forth and forth and back in this series and Game 7 promises to be no different. However, the only question that matters in deciding the outcome of this series is very, very simple: which LeBron will show up?
Are we in for an absolute classic performance by stone-face LeBron? Remember that this is no longer a man who does not know what it takes to win – he has proven he can with his ring from last year. Rather, the pressure is firmly on the shoulders of the young Pacers, many of whom have already shown they can get under the skin of Miami players. The Heat should benefit though from their experience and also from the return of the Chris “I have yet to miss a shot against Indy” Birdman Anderson. Roy Hibbert should have a significantly tougher time getting his shots to fall with the Birdman in his way.
However, any way your slice this game Miami needs contributions from Wade and Bosh. When the Heat put the Pacers away last year it was due to an almost superhuman effort from DWade (Bosh of course was still on the shelf) and Miami needs him to rediscover his scoring touch. This is a tough matchup for Miami and they need to be able to exploit it where they can (ie. Bosh hitting some 20 footers!).
LeBron though, could be in for an epic performance (think 45+ points with 65% shooting) and that will be the difference. Miami wins.