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Heat, Pacers Look to Put Distractions Behind for Game 7

For the Miami Heat, they’ll attempt to stop the Indiana Pacers in Monday night’s Game 7 and end a chance for the franchise to get to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000.

Taking the series to seven games isn’t exactly the way the Heat wanted this to end and now they’ll have to regroup after Saturday’s 91-77 loss to the Pacers.

Maybe playing back on their home court will help the Heat as history will not be on the Pacers’ side on Monday even with their surging confidence after Game 6. According to ESPN, since the NBA went to its current playoff system back in 1984, the home teams in Game 7 are 16-2 in either the conference finals or NBA Finals.

LeBron James

LeBron James

But the Heat’s LeBron James said diplomatically via ESPN of Monday’s game, “Each and every year there are 30 teams that would love to be a part of this, to have one game to advance to the NBA Finals. And there’s two teams that’s in this position. And it’s something that you can’t substitute, this feeling. You can’t substitute the atmosphere that we’re going to be in on Monday night for both teams. We should all cherish this moment.”

For these two teams, each one will bring their own set of distractions to this key game and with the Heat, it’s the lack of play by Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade during Saturday’s game. In this case, three was not a crowd.

Will the two show up on Monday or again will it be the James Show as the team’s single scorer?

On Saturday, he scored a team-leading 29 points (10 for 21 shooting) while none of his teammates scored greater than 10 points.

Here’s more on how the Heat didn’t show up offensively.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wade and Chris Bosh shot a combined 4 for 19 (15 points) in Game 6. This represented their lowest combined output in a game in either the regular or post-season. Wade had only 25 touches vs. his series average of 53 while Bosh only had 19 vs. his 27.6 series average.

Adding to the Heat’s woes were the Pacers outrebounding them 53-33, outscoring 44-22 in the paint (16-0 in the third quarter) and keeping the Heat’s shooters to 16 for 54 (29.6 percent) from inside the arc.

With the Heat’s 36.1 field goal percentage, it was the lowest in its “Big 3-era” since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semis on May 15, 2012 versus yes, the Pacers.

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

While this paints a gloomy picture, the Pacers will enter the game with the memory of Roy Hibbert’s postgame comments on Saturday. Hibbert utilized a gay slur in one answer to a media question and profanity in another response.

For the remarks, the league fined him $75,000 for “using inappropriate and vulgar language.” This came after Hibbert’s Sunday morning apology in a statement that included the language that he has “deep regret over my choice of words last night.” He also reached out to fellow NBA player, Jason Collins, who recently announced that he is gay.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel showed his support for Hibbert publicly by saying via USA Today Sports, “It’s simple. I support him. I know he’s not that person and that it was a mistake. He knows he’s wrong. I didn’t have to tell him that and we all love and support him.”

Hibbert’s actions came after his 24 points with 11 rebounds in Saturday’s game. For the series, the player has averaged 22.8 points with 10.8 rebounds. This is greater than his regular season figures of 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Which team will be put their distractions behind them for Game 7 or perhaps, who wants to win this game more? It may be the Heat as they get the winning nod on Monday (-7, 180.5 o/u).






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