Eastern Conference Finals: Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat Game 1

Game 1: Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat Weds. May 22, 2013 8:30 p.m. ET 

The defending NBA champion Miami Heat head into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers well rested and motivated to close the mouth of head coach Frank Vogel. With Vogel making comments about the Heat being, “just another team,” four-time NBA MVP LeBron James has taken offense and ready to prove the opposing head coach wrong right out of the gate on Wednesday night in South Beach.

Although Vogel denies ever making that statement, the fire has already been lit for LeBron as the superstar forward has exactly what’s needed to motivate heading into the first game of their showdown with the Pacers.

Despite the long layoff due to beating the lowly Milwaukee Bucks in a four-game sweep and taking down the scrappy Chicago Bulls in five games, the Heat have been sitting back and waiting for their time to strike at either the New York Knicks or the Pacers. Although the Knicks were predicted to advance to the East Finals in Las Vegas odds, Carmelo Anthony and company dropped the ball letting Paul George’s squad take advantage and ultimately advance in six games.

Coming into the East Finals, the Pacers will be ready to go with their patent lockdown defense ready for the challenge of containing LeBron and the defending NBA champions. Whether or not this team will truly be up to the task on the road against Erik Spoelstra’s squad remains to be seen, but Indiana shouldn’t be taken lightly with the ability to change the outcome of the game on the defensive side of the floor.

As of right now, the Heat are favored with the point spread of -8 to come out on top in Game 1 on their home floor. Miami is more than capable of pulling out the victory and covering the spread, but I’m betting the Pacers give them a run for their money and potentially pull off the upset on the road in Game 1.

Prediction: Indiana Pacers +8

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