The NBA playoffs have taken a lopsided turn, even for the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. The Heat and Pacers had multiple thrillers in the last two NBA playoffs, with the Pacers seemingly on the brink of making a breakthrough at any time. But as it turned out, Indiana took a step backward in 2014, as it got blown out by the Heat in Miami again to end a conference final on May 30 - only in Game 6 instead of Game 7.
The Heat's 117-92 victory was their third straight easy win over the Pacers in Miami, as they protected their home court. Indiana hinged its entire season on the belief that home court advantage would help it overthrow Miami -- but after the Pacers gave up that advantage in Game 2, its fate was sealed.
The Heat sealed it in Game 6 by destroying the Pacers right after falling behind by 9-2. Miami capped the first quarter on a 22-4 run, as LeBron James got 11 points in the quarter after only scoring seven in all of Game 5. With the early proof that James wouldn't have another inexplicable slump, Indiana had one of its customary slumps that popped up throughout the NBA playoffs -- only this was the last one.
The Heat were up by 60-34 at halftime, then went up by as many as 37 in the second half. James finished with 25 points, while Chris Bosh completed his revival in the second half of this series with 23 points. Paul George had 29 points, but only one of them came in the first half.
The only road win of the series back in Game 2 ultimately made all the difference. Even if Indiana still fell apart in Miami, it would have survived to get that precious Game 7 at home, if it held the lead late in Game 2. Instead, the Pacers' last game of the NBA playoffs was a lopsided loss to the Heat, for the third straight season.
As a result, the Heat are in the NBA finals for the fourth straight season, something that hadn't been done since the 1984-87 Boston Celtics pulled it off. Those Celtics won two titles in that span, but the Heat can now win a third in a row, against either a San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder team they've beaten in the finals before.