Beasts of the East

Paul George and the Pacers will meet LeBron James and the Heat once again in the Playoffs

The true contenders of the NBA remain alive in the playoffs. Out west, the San Antonio Spurs matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies and in the east the Indiana Pacers are up against (to no surprise) the Miami Heat. The Western Conference Finals began Sunday afternoon in a game where the Spurs completely man-handled the Grizzlies, 105-83. The Eastern Conference Finals will begin Wednesday night in Miami. Here I'll break down my personal opinions in terms of position advantages, both teams benches, and how long I predict the series will last.

Last season when the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the rosters were the same for the most part. For Miami, they will have Chris Bosh in the lineup (missed the series vs IND last year) and they added former Celtic Ray Allen to their bench. For the Pacers, they are playing without their All Star forward Danny Granger, who has been sidelined most of the season due to a knee injury.

PG - MIA: Mario Chalmers 8.6 PPG, 3.5 APG
IND: George Hill 14.2, 4.7 APG
Chalmers gets a lot of attention taken from him because he rarely actually plays "point guard" for his team. LeBron or Wade usually take on that role. Chalmers is a very good outside shooter and decent defender, but will have his hands full guarding former Spurs guard George Hill. Hill can shoot the 3 and is a very good scorer in the paint. 
Advantage: Indiana Pacers

SG - MIA: Dwyane Wade 21.2 PPG, 5.1 APG
IND: Lance Stevenson 8.8 PPG, 2.9 APG
Dwyane Wade has played on & missed games because of a bad knee. He will be defending a quick, athletic wing man in Stevenson. But, Dwyane Wade is still Dwyane Wade and he will get his points. 
Advantage: Miami Heat

SF - MIA: LeBron James 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG
IND: Paul George 17.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG
This will be the best player matchup imo. Obviously James is the better player, but George has been outstanding this season, winning the Kia Most Improved Player award. Both are freakishly athletic players that rebound very well and are good facilitators. This will be fun to watch.
Advantage: Miami Heat

PF - MIA: Udonis Haslem 3.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG
IND: David West 17.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG
Haslem has come from starter, to 6th man, back to starter for the Heat. His shooting has been horrific this year - compare to 8.9 PPG career average. On the other hand, 9 year vet David West has had a huge impact on his team since joining them last season.
Advantage: Indiana Pacers

C - MIA: Chris Bosh 16.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG
IND: Roy Hibbert 11.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.6 BPG
Last year we saw Chris Bosh try his best Dirk Nowitzki impression by drifting from the post and shooting 3's. Bosh is clearly no Dirk. He will be matched up against one of the better post scorers and rebounders in the NBA, and with Boshs' subpar post defensive skills, Hibbert owns this matchup.
Advantage: Indiana Pacers

Key Reserves
MIA: Ray Allen 10.9 PPG, Shane Battier 6.6 PPG, Norris Cole 5.6 PPG, Chris Anderson 4.9 PPG   4.1 RPG.

IND: Tyler Hansbrough 7.0 PPG 4.6 RPG, DJ Augustin 4.7 PPG, Ian Mahinmi 5.0 PPG 3.9 RPG, Gerald Green 7.0 PPG.
Advantage: Miami Heat

With all that said, I see this series going the distance. Both teams have athleticism and three point shooting, but Indiana has size, something you can't teach. I want to say Indiana in 7 simply because I don't want Miami to make it that far again, but Miami is clearly the fan favorite to win this series, and the title again. Should be a good series to watch. Who do you choose to win, and in how many games?


Twitter - @CelticsLife_PBB