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Pacers face long odds for NBA Finals
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 31, 2013 @ 1:55 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
History is against the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers lost Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat and now trail 3-2 in the series. In NBA playoff history, the winner of a tiebreaker Game 5 has gone on to win the series 83% of the time. That doesn’t bode well for Indiana’s chances at lining up against the San Antonio Spurs on June 6.
The Pacers have proven time and time again in this series that they can hang with the Heat. Even this 90-79 loss, they controlled the tempo and looked much more focused and less tentative than the defending champions. Even after LeBron James went nova in the third quarter to open up a double-digit lead, Indiana kept fighting, only losing by 11 points.
Indiana’s biggest pitfall in Game 5 (besides the fact that there isn’t a lot you can do about James having a game like he had) was its bench. Roy Hibbert, David West and Paul George combined for 66 of the Pacers’ 79 points. No other Indiana player scored more than 4. Backup point guard D.J. Augustin was particularly awful, playing a key stretch of the third quarter while George Hill was in foul trouble and not doing much to replace the production Hill normally gives them.
There’s a chance that this game woke up LeBron, like Game 6 of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics. If that’s indeed the case, the Pacers are doomed (and so are the Spurs, for that matter). But the Pacers still have plenty of matchup advantages in this series.
Their odds just got a lot longer. But they’re not at zero yet.
Psycho T and Birdman mix it up: In one of the most inevitable fights in NBA playoff history, Tyler Hansbrough and Chris Andersen got into a shoving match that resulted in a double technical and a flagrant foul call on “Birdman.” The tech on Hansbrough was confusing. Andersen shoved him twice and Hansbrough barely did more than yell at him. It could have simply been a reputation call.
Birdman still perfect: After going 2-for-2 … [For more on Playoff Putbacks: Pacers face long odds for NBA Finals, click here.]
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