According to a May 17 ESPN report, Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be the site for today’s Eastern Conference Finals opener between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. Opening tipoff for Game 1 of this best-of-seven NBA playoff series is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. ET (2:40 p.m. CT/1:40 p.m. MT/12:40 p.m. PT), and it can be seen nationally on ABC (TV) and streaming live and free on ESPN 3 (online).
Depending on geographical location, NBA playoff fans can also stream this game live on a desktop and a number of Internet mobile devices by visiting ABC’s Live Stream page (U.S.A. territory verification required). Please note that while tipoff is slated for 3:40 p.m., TV and live stream start times are set for 3:30 p.m. (All Eastern Times) with commentating by Mike Breen, Jeff Vandy and former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson.
After clinching the top seed, the Indiana Pacers will enjoy home-court advantage in the series, which will be played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format. The first two games will be at the home of the Pacers, followed by a pair at the Heat’s house, and they will alternate venues for Games 5, 6 and 7 (*if necessary).
Heat vs. Pacers 2014 Eastern Conference Finals Full Schedule (TV & Start Times)
Game 1: Sunday, May 18 at Indiana, 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
Game 2: Tuesday, May 20 at Indiana, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Game 3: Saturday, May 24 at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Game 4: Monday, May 26 at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
*Game 5: Wednesday, May 28 at Indiana, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
*Game 6: Friday, May 30 at Miami, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
*Game 7: Sunday, June 1 at Indiana, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
For the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs, a May 18 Miami Herald report states that Chris Bosh will decide if Miami reaches the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year. However, it’s not the center’s height that could be the determining factor, but rather his ability to stay hot from the outside.
The Herald’s Joseph Goodman indicates that, through two NBA playoff series, Bosh has converted on almost 49 percent of his shots from behind the arc, a claim no one still playing in the postseason can make. In fact, only two players come close to that mark: Miami’s James Jones (47.8 percent) and San Antonio’s Marco Belinelli (47.6 percent).
For last-year’s runners up, a May 17 IndyStar report dictates what the Pacers need to do in order to enact revenge on the hated Heat. Candace Buckner breaks down the potential matchups in this series, pointing to three key matchups Indiana must exploit.
While the Heat will have the edge at the shooting guard (Dwyane Wade vs. Lance Stephenson), small forward positions (LeBron James vs. Paul George), as well as in bench play, the Pacers will need to exploit Miami’s deficiencies at the point-guard (Mario Chalmers vs. George Hill), power-forward (Chris Bosh vs. David West) and center (Udonis Haslem vs. Roy Hibbert) areas.
How will it all play out when the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers resume their heated rivalry in Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Eastern Conference Finals? According to NBA playoff oddsmakers at ESPN, the road team is projected to ruin home-court advantage right from the get-go.
Moments before tipoff, point-spreads for Game 1 list Miami as -3½-point favorites against the hosting Pacers and the OVER/UNDER tallies 182 points. Straight-up betting lines have the Heat valued at -155, the Pacers as +135 underdogs, and here’s how things appear in the statistical world prior to tipoff:
2014 ATS Action Prior to ESPN3 & ABC Free Live Stream Online
Heat spread: 64 percent.
Pacers spread: 36 percent.
OVER wagers: 752 units.
UNDER wagers: 474 units.
Trends to Consider Prior to ABC National TV Coverage Start Time
Heat is 4-0 ATS in their last four games playing on three or more days rest.
Heat is 5-0 ATS in their last five versus the NBA’s Central Division.
Heat is 19-7 ATS in their last 26 Sunday games.
Pacers are 17-37-1 ATS in their last 55 games overall.
Pacers are 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 home games.
Pacers are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a straight-up win of more than 10 points.
Heat vs. Pacers 2014 NBA Playoff Key Stats for Game 1
Home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.
Miami is 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings in Indiana.
UNDER is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between Miami and Indiana.
OVER is 4-1 in Miami’s last five games following a straight-up win.
UNDER is 4-1 in Indiana’s last five games against the NBA’s Southeast Division.