Miami is the odds on favorite to advance to the NBA Finals. First though, they will have to go through this gritty Indiana Pacers squad. Who will advance on to the Eastern Conference Finals?

I will give you all my analysis of the match-ups along with my prediction for the series.

Point Guard

Indiana is led by a two-headed monster of George Hill and Darren Collison. Collison started most of the season until he injured his groin. Hill then came in and gave the Pacers a scoring spark they haven't had all season.

Both Collison and Hill are formidable point guards who could be key cogs in this series against Miami. They will go up against Mario Chalmers, a streaky shooter who isn't really considered a strong defender.

If Hill could penetrate inside and get some close shots, that could give Indiana many open shots. If Hill were to get hot against Chalmers, you could see Dwyane Wade come over on Hill. George Hill seems like the type of point guard in this series who could give Miami fits and the right type of penetrating guard who could make Danny Granger and Paul George open looks behind the arc.

Then, you have Darren Collison. A speedy, pass-first point guard with water-bug-like quickness. You will see Collison get many minutes in the starting rotation. He is the type who usually feeds David West in the pick-and-roll. If he needs to do, like in Game 5, he could go off on the scoring end.

Mario Chalmers, as explained earlier, is really a streaky shooter who lurks behind the three-point line. If he can get going behind-the-arc, you will see more defensive attention toward him. This means that there will be that one less body shadowing LeBron James or Wade. Mario Chalmers is easily the X-factor here. If he gets it going, it could get ugly for Indiana.

Edge: Indiana

Shooting Guard

Paul George has been one of the more inconsistent players so far in the playoffs. He struggled on the offensive and defensive end against Jason Richardson during Indy's first-round series against the Orlando Magic. George is in for a rude awakening if he can't get it going against D-Wade.

If you didn't notice against Orlando, George was very committed to the pump fake. He always took the bait presented by Richardson. Wade could be in for a field day in this series.

Simple as this, Wade will be hard to stop in this series. Wade's explosiveness will give him a chance to make George jump at the pump fake giving him a wide open lane to the paint. It also gives problems for center Roy Hibbert. Wade driving and getting George jumpy will get Hibbert likely in early foul trouble. Wade has to be grinning at the chance to go against a young and raw George.

Edge: Miami

Small Forward

This will give everyone a close up look at the almost unknown scorer in Danny Granger. Granger can score in bunches when he gets going. One thing he isn't looking forward to is going against LeBron. Granger shouldn't take the usual twenty plus shots like he has to win a game. I think that role should go to David West.

Granger is a great jump shooter who if on a roll could completely take over a game. Granger can also take it to the hole to get James in foul trouble. Granger is the go-to scorer in crunch time. This team doesn't have a star to go to. He is the closest thing to it and could have a series where he has to become more passive at some points for the Pacers to win.

LeBron James, the newly crowned MVP, is going against another suspect defender in Granger. Like George, Granger jumps at the first pump fake. This will give LeBron the opening to drive to the basket and get Hibbert in foul trouble. No one will stop LeBron from getting his nightly 25-plus points, but you can get him in foul trouble early to get him out of there. No surprise here, LeBron gives Miami the edge here at this position.

Edge: Miami

Power Forward

This is where Indiana should take advantage of Miami's lack of size and power on the boards. David West will be going against Udonis Haslem. With that match-up, I would take West every time. West should be able to have his way with Haslem inside and out.

West can bully him down in the paint or just spot-up for his jumper. They may have to put LeBron on him at some point. Once West gets it going, he's pretty hard to stop. I see West dropping around 23-plus per game in this series. Frank Vogel has to make him the number one target on offense in this series.

Haslem, on the other hand, is a poor man's version of David West. He has the same qualities as West, but in a smaller frame. That frame of Haslem though will be his downfall. Haslem could get going with his jumper, but he won't be able to drive on West.

Edge: Indiana


Roy Hibbert is a 7-2 giant going against a finesse Chris Bosh. Hibbert should be able to post up Bosh with rather ease and get his signature hook shot off. Hibbert has been criticized on the offensive end during the season and during the Orlando series. He wasn't able to get consistent offense against Glen Davis. There has to be a lightbulb that goes off in Roy's head saying "Get Aggressive," and I think he will.

Bosh is not a pushover though. He is a big man with a nice jumper. He can also take it down low, but I don't see Bosh being his usual self against Indiana. Hibbert should be his same dominant defensive player against Miami. Hibbert averaged almost 4 blocks per game against Orlando. I expect the same against Bosh and the rest of Miami's frontcourt. Bosh will give it a good game or two, but Hibbert should be the more consistent of the two.

Edge: Indiana


Even though I have Indiana on three of the five positions with the advantage, I see Miami winning this series in 6 games. Indiana just doesn't have that star player like Miami who could be their clutch player. Miami has two of them in LeBron and Wade.

Indiana should be able to wonders in the paint and on the boards, but Miami should outpace Indiana. The fast break of LeBron and Dwyane will give the slow paced Indiana fits. The Pacers will give Miami a hard fought series, but the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will be the difference maker. I expect this Indiana-Miami series to be one of the better ones in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Evan Sidery is a contributing writer for FootBasket. He is a fan of the Colts and Pacers. You can see more about him by following him on Twitter.


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