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LeBron James and Miami Heat Need To Close Out Series On Saturday

LeBron James and Miami Heat Need To Close Out Series On Saturday

May 31, 2013

LeBron James was at his dominating best on Thursday night in Game 5 knocking down 30 points, picking up eight rebounds and adding six assists. He didn’t get a lot of help from his supporting cast offensively, but a strong overall defensive effort ensured that the Miami Heat knocked down the Indiana Pacers 90-79 to take a 3-2 series lead.

The real story of Game 5 was the complete no-show of the team’s guards. Lance Stephenson had just four points, George Hill had just one and D.J. Augustin went without scoring in a little over 18 minutes of playing times. Miami locked down on a tandem that has caused them problems.

The Pacers had a slimmer rebounding advantage and Udonis Haslem stepped up scoring 16 points from inside, which was a big boost.

What was very evident in Game 5 was that the Heat just have too much scoring, too much talent and too much for the Pacers to handle. Now LeBron and Miami need to finish this deal off and ensure that they book their place in the NBA Finals with a win on Saturday in Indiana in Game 6.

The San Antonio Spurs finished their series off on Monday and will have at least one week worth of rest before the start of the NBA Finals whatever happens on Saturday. The Spurs are a veteran, experienced team with depth and multiple weapons. It is also a guarantee that Gregg Popovich will work out the defensive looks to give the Heat some serious trouble.

James’ supporting cast Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have both had a disappointing series against Indiana and are both potentially nursing reasonably serious injuries. Miami cannot afford to expend too much energy on this series against Indiana and going to a Game 7 will completely imbalance the relative fatigue of the two NBA Finals opponents.

The reality is that San Antonio will clearly be the first serious challenge for Miami in the playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks were steam rolled in the first round. The Chicago Bulls scared the Heat in round two winning Game 1, but the injury hit Bulls were never a realistic threat to knock out James and his team. Indiana has provided some pretty stiff competition in this series and could still take it to Game 7 with a win on Saturday. However, few people are giving the Pacers much chance to advance to the NBA Finals. They just don’t have the scoring talent to seriously challenge Miami offensively.

The Spurs will be a very different proposition on both ends of the floor. They can shoot the three pretty well, they also have the players to go into the post and expose the Heat’s inside presence. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have serious championship experience and Popovich knows exactly what it takes to win NBA titles as a coach.

Miami needs to get healthy, they need to finish off their conference finals series as quickly as possible and they need to be ready because their second NBA title is likely to be a lot harder than their first.

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