The 2014 NBA Playoffs have had a number of different story lines up to this point. Underdogs have shocked higher seeds and kept them on their toes through this point of the post season. However, there as been one match-up that has been on everyone's radar even before the year ended. Today, the Indiana Pacers will welcome the Miami Heat for the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals. After a whole year of build up this series will be something to watch for a multitude of reasons.
Coming into this series it is clear that the Miami Heat have become the favorite to advance to their fourth straight NBA Finals. The Heat can currently be found as a +390 betting favorite to win this series. This is a very interesting conversation after the way many of these games went throughout the regular season. However, it has been the post season play of the Pacers that has been most alarming to those who have followed the game closely.
To say that the Pacers have not played up to their potential at points during the 2014 NBA playoffs would be a major understatement. They were pushed to seven games by the Atlanta Hawks and many experts picked the Washington Wizards to upset them in the semifinals. This is due to the way that the team has looked inept across the board at times. Roy Hibbert's disappearing act and Paul George's post season struggles are just two of the issues as this team comes into the Eastern Conference Finals. These are question marks that will have to be answered in one way or another starting on Sunday.
It goes without saying that the Pacers do have the tools needed to win this series. The teams split their season series 2-2. Neither team were able to win on the road against each other, which is another important story line coming into this series. At 35-6 the Pacers have the best home record this year and will control what was considered a factor to their losing last year's season against the Heat. However, the Pacers haven't looked completely dominant at home as they've lost four games at home this post season. The Heat have won four games on the road to continue the trend that they are an effective road team during the playoffs.
The Indiana Pacers seemed to use last season's playoff defeat to build themselves towards this rematch. Off season signings and the way the games against the Miami Heat were promoted this year make it clear that both groups expected to meet each other again in this position. Even though Indiana has advanced, they have lost some momentum which is vital when playing against LeBron James and crew. Game 1 kicks on on Sunday at 3:00pm in Indiana for what should be a very exciting series.