After watching the Pacers dismantle the Heat on Thursday night, I’m ready to call the Pacers a better team than the Bosh-less Heat. I’ve felt for some time that Dwyane Wade’s talents aren’t maximized next to Lebron James, and without Bosh (who is a great compliment to Lebron) the Heat are all of a sudden the ’09-’10 Cavs, a team that was dismissed in the Eastern Conference’s second round. But enough on the Heat, let’s talk about the Pacers for s second, a talented young team coming of age in front of our eyes whose 2-1 series lead isn’t exactly a fluke (Indiana did finish 18 games over .500 this season and only 4 games behind the Heat). With a basketball-nuts state behind them and momentum like they’ve never felt, the Pacers appear to be a tremendous value at +1.5 in Bankers Life on Sunday.
As for Saturday’s action, I’ve been waiting all postseason to make a big play on the league’s coolest team, the Thunder. I had non-buyer’s remorse after the 1st round’s game 3 in Dallas, and wish I’d followed my feel in Game 1 against the Lakers. But now that the scale has tipped a bit in LA’s favor, it’s time to play the better team to take the series by the throat. Look, I know the Lakers are a brand, they’re at home, and Kobe is an all-time great, all of which are great reasons to take the Lakers and the point. But the no-rest turnaround will impact geezers Bryant, Gasol, and World Peace more so than the the fresh young legs of Oklahoma City. Let’s also not look past the fact that the Lakers had to shoot an absurd 41-42 from the free throw line and Kobe had to play like the player he was 5 years ago to pull out the win. I for one don’t see these stars lining up again, and the better team takes control of the series.
Your weekend picks:
Thunder -1 @ Lakers