2012 NBA Playoffs Conference Semifinals Preview: Indiana Pacers v.s. Miami Heat


The next round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs will start this weekend as the Eastern Conference semifinals continue this Sunday. The 2nd-seed Miami Heat will host the 3rd-seed Indiana Pacers. This will prove to be a big series for both teams, but more so for the Indiana Pacers because this is the perfect chance to prove that they are a real playoff contender.

The Indiana Pacers got to the Eastern Conference semifinals by defeating the 6th-seed Orlando Magic. The Indiana Pacers lost Game 1, but then won four straight games to eliminate the Orlando Magic in five games. The Orlando Magic tried to keep the series going in Game 5, but the Indiana Pacers blew away in the fourth quarter to win the game and the series. Much like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Indiana Pacers were playing a hurt Orlando Magic team as the Orlando Magic were missing their top star, Dwight Howard, for the entire series.

In their first round series against the Orlando Magic, the Indiana Pacers had big performances from Danny Granger, David West, and Roy Hibbert. All three of these players are averaging double-digit points with 21.4, 15.8, and 11.0 points per game respectively. On top of that, Roy Hibbert is averaging a double-double per game as he is averaging 11.0 rebounds per game. Another trait that Roy Hibbert brings to the table is his blocking ability (averaging 3.8 blocks a game). This will be the biggest key for the Indiana Pacers if they want to have a chance of knocking off the Miami Heat. Roy Hibbert will have to protect the paint against the 2012 NBA MVP, LeBron James.

On the other side, the Miami Heat had no problems knocking off the 7th-seed New York Knicks in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. The series only lasted five games and the Miami Heat were able to extinguish the New York Knicks as their big man, Amare Stoudemire, missed some games due to a hand injury.

During their first round series, the Big 3 for the Miami Heat were all averaging at least fifteen points per game. In addition to the Big 3, Mario Chalmers had a very nice first round with eleven points per game and a three-point shooting percentage of 41.7%. The important thing for the Miami Heat will be the supporting cast of the Big 3. The Miami Heat cannot just win with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The supporting cast of the Miami Heat will need to help out if they want to make it to the Eastern Conference finals.

The key to this Eastern Conference semifinals match-up will be the paint. The Indiana Pacers will need to defend the paint religiously and Roy Hibbert needs to lead the charge. The Miami Heat will struggle if they are forced to settle for jump shots. It will be a very fast series for the Miami Heat if the Indiana Pacers let LeBron James cause havoc in the paint.

Ricky’s Prediction: Miami Heat in 5 games

For more 2012 NBA Playoffs coverage, check out my podcast The Onside Kick. The Onside Kick covers all the biggest stories in the NBA, NCAA Basketball, NFL, NCAA Football, and MLB.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

Follow the Autzen Zoo on Twitter @Autzen_Zoo and like us on Facebook at Autzen_Zoo.