NBA Playoffs Free Picks: Pacers at Heat Game 2 Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/14/2012
I obviously don’t wish an injury upon any player, but it’s about freaking time for the Miami Heat!
It seemed like every NBA title contender in these playoffs had suffered a big injury – especially the East’s top-seeded Chicago Bulls -- except for the favored Heat, but that all changed in Game 1 of second-seeded Miami’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the No. 3 Indiana Pacers.
All-Star power forward Chris Bosh obviously isn’t the best (or even second-best) player on the team but he’s been called the most important because of Miami’s lack of size and low-post threats outside of him. Bosh went down with a strained abdominal muscle in the Heat’s 95-86 victory on Sunday. An MRI confirmed the injury on Monday and he’s out indefinitely – certainly for Tuesday’s Game 2 and most likely the remainder of this series. So do the Pacers have a chance now? Well, oddsmakers still don’t think so as Miami is still at -1800 on the Sportsbook.com series line with Indy at +1000. The favored result at +180 is Miami to win this series in five games.
Pacers at Heat Betting Story Lines
Bosh was injured when he was fouled by Pacers center Roy Hibbert with 1:06 left in the second quarter. Bosh converted on a dunk but fell to the floor after Hibbert fouled him. He remained on all fours for nearly 15 seconds, got up gingerly and made his free throw. But he struggled to get back on defense and ended up leaving for good. Bosh was playing well to that point with 13 points and five rebounds.
All that the Heat are saying is that Bosh is out indefinitely and Bosh himself said he’s not sure when he can get back. The good news is that there wasn’t a tear that would have ended his season. But reports out of Miami indicate he’s likely done for this series at a minimum. Frankly, the Heat should beat the Pacers even without Bosh, but beating perhaps the Boston Celtics in the East Finals would be tough without him. The Eastern Conference Finals would start either Saturday, May 26, or Monday, May 28 – which gives Bosh 12 or 14 days to heal.
Coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t said which way he will go in the lineup. Bosh has been playing center in reality and was the primary defender on Hibbert. Spoelstra could simply insert Ronny Turiaf at center with Udonis Haslem continuing to start at power forward. It’s also likely that LeBron James sees plenty of time at power forward now as well. But certainly Turiaf and Joel Anthony will see a lot more minutes regardless. Those two combined for 13 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1.
I don’t think anyone would claim the Heat are better without Bosh. But here’s an interesting stat. When Miami’s Big 3 of LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Bosh was reduced to just LeBron and Wade for 235 minutes on the court this season, the Heat scored 120.8 points per 100 possessions while giving up only 99.8 points per 100 possessions. So the Heat beat opponents by 17.8 points every 48 minutes when James and Wade played without Bosh. LeBron played power forward for 20 minutes in Game 1 on Sunday and the Heat outscored the Pacers by 15 points.
On the other hand, the Heat outscored their opponents by about seven points per 100 possessions this season, third best in the league. But with all three of their stars on the floor, they were plus-12 per 100 possessions. In addition, Turiaf, Haslem and Anthony aren’t a threat to make any jumpers, so Hibbert now will be able to practically stand under the basket whereas Bosh would have lured him out of the paint with his mid-range game.
The Pacers are saying they don’t think the loss of Bosh gives them any added advantage, but that’s poppycock. But Indy definitely isn’t going to win if it doesn’t get more from Danny Granger and Paul George. Those two combined for just 13 points on 2-for-15 shooting in a combined 65 minutes. In the fourth quarter of Game 1, Wade and LeBron outscored the Pacers 22-16 (including 20 straight by the duo at one point). Indiana was 6-of-21 from the field, including 1-of-7 from long range, and missed its final nine shots. LeBron and Wade played 21 minutes together in the second half and the Heat outscored the Pacers by 18 during that stretch.
The Pacers could also use some help from the refs. The home-court officiating bias was pretty evident in Game 1 as the Pacers were called for nine more fouls than Miami (31-22) and were outscored by nine points (29-20) from the free throw line. That’s your final margin right there. James and Wade combined to attempt 24 free throws compared with 28 by Indiana's entire team. Indy’s five starters had 23 fouls called on them – George fouled out and Hibbert and George Hill nearly did -- compared to 10 on Miami’s first five.
Pacers at Heat Betting Odds and Key Trends
Miami is a 7.5-point favorite (-380 on moneyline) with the total at 185 – the Heat were 8.5-point favorites in Game 1. The Heat were 18-15 ATS at home during season and are 4-0 ATS there in playoffs. Miami was 10-23 on the ‘over/under’ at home during season and 2-2 in playoffs. The Pacers were 17-16 ATS on road during season and 18-14-1 O/U. In playoffs on road, they are 1-2 ATS and 1-2 O/U.
Indiana is 5-0 ATS in its past five Tuesday games. The Heat are 0-5 ATS in their past five on Tuesdays. The under is 4-1 in Indiana’s past five playoff games as a dog. The under is 8-0 in Miami’s past eight home games vs. teams with a winning road record.
Free NBA Playoffs Picks: Pacers at Heat Betting Predictions
I have little doubt that Miami wins Game 2 but also little doubt that Bosh will be missed. Look for more ball domination by James and Wade – LeBron took 17 shots in the second half of Game 1 and Wade took 13. No other Heat player took more than two shots after halftime. But Indiana also led Game 1 at the half despite Granger, their leading scorer, not scoring a point in the half. And the Pacers defense should be better on LeBron and Wade since they know the Heat have no other legit scorers to worry about. So take Indiana and the under.
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