Pacers posses the NBA's best defense with young talent at both the guard and forward positions. Paul George NBA's Most Improved Player faces the associations reigning MVP LeBron James in a playoff series key match up. During the regular season George averaged 18pts, 7rebs, and 4.3 ast with heavy face time against arguably the leagues best player. It's a challenge that can be overwhelming for the young 23yr old and first time NBA All Star. George's number one attribute will be on the defensive side of ball, "He's very athletic, with long arms and his anticipation is very good" according to James. George did a masterful job versus Carmelo Anthony in the previous playoff series limiting Anthony to 4pts in the 4th quarter. What's more impressive is the fact George held Anthony without a field goal in the 4th Qtr of games 3 and 4. As LeBron James is quick to mention "He also has a lot of help behind him they're the #1 defense for a reason".
Is Indiana's size and strength enough to provide a cold front and scour away the heat? Earlier this season I provided an article highlighting every reason why the Pacers were the only team in the Eastern Conference built to take advantage of the Heats weaknesses link provided below. Just to give a quick insight the Miami Heat are inefficient in two areas total team rebounding and offensive boards. Pacers excel in both areas ranked among the best in the association. By the numbers Heat average 46.7 rebs per game vs Pacers 54.8 rebs per contest. Heat garner 8.3 offensive boards per game in comparison to Pacers 12.8 per. contest.
Outside of rebounding and defensive numbers Pacers offense is polar opposite from the Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh led Miami Heat offense. Pacers offense is insufficient at times with long delays between baskets leading to one of NBA's worst (47.7%) FG efficient offenses. In comparisons the Heats 2012-2013 NBA regular season FG efficiency rate was 55.1% . Big difference like comparing apples to oranges.
Last seasons playoff series between Pacers and Heat was testy Heat took an early 1-0 lead with Pacers former NBA executive calling the Pacers players soft. The young Pacers responded winning games 2 and 3 in the series. In the 2012 playoff series were unforgettable moments starting Lance Stephenson's choke signal toward James in game 3 and the before game locker room search conducted by Juwan Howard.
This time around in the Eastern Conference Finals we should expect a more mature Lance Stephenson. Who recently had a 25 pt, 10 reb performance to finish off the New York Knicks in game 6.
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Clenaure Carter is now the Writer for http://www.football.com covering Georgia Tech Football
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