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Are NBA Odds Now Leaning Toward the Indiana Pacers?

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Paul George and the Indiana Pacers have emerged as the top threat to end the reign of LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Paul George and the Indiana Pacers have emerged as the top threat to end the reign of LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

It was only one game just six weeks into the NBA season, but the Indiana Pacers made a clear statement during their 90-84 victory over the Miami Heat in the first meeting this season of the two squads that are clearly the best in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

NBA odds clearly favor the Pacers and Heat colliding at the end of the season in the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight season.

Last year the two squads waged an epic series in which home court advantage proved important with the home team winning five of the seven games.

The series ultimately came down to a decisive game seven in Miami and the Heat took advantage of their home atmosphere to claim the largest victory of the series 99-76.

The Pacers seem determined to make sure that if history repeats and the two teams are playing another decisive game this season that the game will be in Indiana.

After their victory over Miami, the Pacers boast the best record in the NBA with a 19-3 mark. The Heat are a firm second in the Eastern Conference at 16-6, but unless the Pacers slip over the remainder of the season, the Heat will clearly have to work hard to swipe home court advantage from Indiana.

Indiana, which had a 49-33 record a year ago, has clearly stepped up their game during the first quarter of 2013-14. Leading that charge is fourth year player Paul George.

The 6-foot-8 inch forward from Fresno State has made huge and consistent improvements since being selected with the 10th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. His scoring average has climbed each season from 7.8 during his rookie season to 12.1, then 17.4 last year. So far this season he has moved to elite status averaging 24.7 points per game.

If the Pacers are going to dethrone the Heat, it will be with George leading the way and a talented mix of veterans and young players in valuable supporting roles.

In his 10th NBA season, David West is a solid player averaging 13 points per game and providing veteran spark and leadership.

Though he has been at times inconsistent, Roy Hibbert is a force inside and has been especially impressive in the playoffs. He gives the Heat real matchup problems and last season averaged 22 points in the playoff series while scoring at least 18 points in every game.

While George is the player from the 2010 draft who has helped Indiana the most, another pick from that draft, second round choice (number 40 overall) Lance Stephenson, has also developed into a key contributor. After seeing minimal action his first two seasons, Stephenson averaged 8.8 points per game last year and so far this season is averaging 12.1 points per contest.

The Pacers may not have the star power of the Miami Heat, but they have stood toe-to-toe with them over the last two seasons and will certainly be the toughest threat to Miami’s bid for a three-peat.

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