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Game 5 - Pacers at Heat

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The Spurs are waiting patiently for the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals, as the Heat and Pacers look for two more victories to advance to the NBA Finals. Miami and Indiana are knotted up at 2-2 following a home triumph by the Pacers on Tuesday night, but it didn't come without drama.

In the definition of a see-saw affair, the Pacers jumped out of the gate to an 11-0 advantage, but the Heat eventually grabbed the lead with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Indiana held the advantage after the first quarter (26-22) and at halftime (48-47), while rebounding from a poor defensive effort in the first half of Game 3 in which the Pacers yielded 70 points.

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Miami used a 13-6 run to start the third quarter to take their biggest lead of the game at 60-54, but the Heat cooled off by scoring just 10 points in the final 7:30 minutes of the quarter. Roy Hibbert is turning into one of the more effective centers in the league with his performance in this series, capped off by a 23-point, 12-rebound effort in Game 4. The Pacers held off the Heat in the end to come out with a 99-92 triumph as three-point underdogs, the third cover by Indiana in this series.

LeBron James fouled out for the first time this season, including a questionable illegal screen in the final minute of regulation. The league's MVP paced Miami with 24 points, but the Heat shot just 39% from the field, including 6-of-21 from Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined. The Heat needs to improve their rebounding moving forward, as Indiana pulled down 49 boards in Game 4 compared to just 30 for Miami.

Since 2010, this is the 19th time in the playoffs that a series is tied at 2-2. However, we'll remove two examples from the NBA Finals as those Game 5's occurred in the same venue as Game 4 due to the 2-3-2 format. The home club has seen plenty of success by posting an 11-5 SU and 10-6 ATS record in this stretch after splitting the first four games of a series. Below are the results over the last four postseasons in this situation.

HOME TEAMS WITH SERIES TIED AT 2-2 SINCE '10
ROUND/YR RESULT LINE ATS RESULT
QTR/10 MIL 91, ATL 87 +9 L
QTR/10 LAL 111, OKC 87 -6 W
QTR/10 PHX 107, POR 88 -7.5 W
SEMI/10 BOS 120, CLE 88 +7.5 L
CONF/10 LAL 103, PHX 101 -7.5 L
QTR/11 LAL 106, NO 90 -9.5 W
QTR/11 DAL 93, POR 82 -5 W
SEMI/11 CHI 95, ATL 83 -8.5 W
SEMI/11 OKC 99, MEM 72 -6 W
SEMI/12 MIA 115, IND 83 -7 W
SEMI/12 BOS 101, PHI 85 -5.5 W
CONF/12 BOS 94, MIA 90 +7.5 L
CONF/12 OKC 108, SA 103 +5 L
QTR/13 IND 106, ATL 83 -7 W
QTR/13 MEM 103, LAC 93 +5.5 L
SEMI/13 SA 109, GS 91 -7 W
*HOME TEAMS IN BOLD
From a totals perspective, VegasInsider.com's Chris David breaks it down, "The 'over' has now gone 9-2 in the last 11 meetings between the Pacers and Heat, which includes a perfect 4-0 mark in this series. I don't like to play the due factor, but if you bet totals on pace, then you should lean 'under' in Game 5. It's next to impossible to handicap free throw attempts and if both teams shoot 60-plus, then you're likely to see the game go 'over' again. I don't expect that to happen again, which is why I would lean 'under' here."

With the Heat returning home, David says to expect their offense to bounce back, "For Game 5, I'm going to look at the team totals, in particular Miami's number. Most shops have the Heat's total listed at 96 and I believe that number could be eclipsed. Miami's offense is arguably the most explosive in the NBA and we've seen the offense bounce back in every game after a poor shooting performance during this year's playoff run. In Game 4, they shot 39 percent, which is well below their average and they still put up 92. If the Heat ever shoots 50 percent, which is really possible, they'll drop 100-plus points easily. Also, if you believe in déjà vu, it's hard to ignore that Miami put up 115 points on Indiana in Game 5 at home during last year's Eastern Conference semifinals when the series was tied 2-2."

Erik Spoelstra's club owns a dreadful 2-5 home ATS record in the postseason, but the Heat failed to cover twice as a favorite of at least 12 points. However, Miami has won and cashed in seven straight games dating back to January coming off a loss. Indiana has alternated wins and losses in each of its last seven games, while putting together a 5-2 ATS record in this stretch.

The Heat is listed as 7 ½-point favorites tonight, while the total sits at 185. The game can be seen nationally on TNT as things tip off at 8:30 PM EST from the American Airlines Arena.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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