Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs 2013: Can The Indiana Pacers Beat the Miami Heat?

It’s been a dream season for the Indiana Pacers so far, but things could turn into an ugly nightmare as the Miami Heat are next up on Indiana’s docket. But while it’s a tall order to knock off the Heat and advance to the NBA Finals, the Indiana Paces seem up to the task and they indeed have the tools to not only challenge Miami but pull off the upset and overthrow them in the East.

The series will come down to one thing: can the Pacers take LeBron James out of the series. If the Pacers contain James and neutralize him, then they match up incredibly well against the Heat. Miami has struggled inside all season and the Pacers present a beefy, physical gameplan when it comes to who’s bigs can out-rebound the other team’s.

Amazingly enough, with the Big 3 in town the Heat have gotten by with a small-ball mentality and so far it’s worked. But the Pacers aren’t built like the Chicago Bulls or Milwaukee Bucks and can beat up the Heat all over the court with guys like Roy Hibbert and David West.

But Paul George will be the biggest name to watch in the series as he’ll be drawing heavy minutes defending LeBron James and working on making him as little a factor as possible. This isn’t a situation where the Pacers can afford to allow LeBron to “get his” anf worry about stopping the rest of the Heat. In the postseason LeBron James is the Heat and stopping him is bigger than it’s ever been.

It’s easier said than done, but George is already a rising superstar in league and nothing will propel him to the elite level he’s headed towards faster than a dominant series against LeBron. Milwaukee didn’t have an answer for LeBron and the Bulls were without Luol Deng the entire series which means George is the first formidable opponent James has faced all postseason long.

Hopefully for the Pacers, this means the series will last longer than 5 games but the Pacers are the best team at the moment to knock the Miami Heat off or at the very least give them the biggest scare of their postseason run.

Tags: Indiana Pacers Lebron James Miami Heat NBA Paul George

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