The Indiana Pacers will look to shock the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight in Indiana. These two teams faced one another last season in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where the Pacers took the series to six games before falling to Miami after Dwayne Wade's 41 point performance.
Indiana has several players who are capable of making this a difficult series for Miami. Here are two specific players who could stun Miami in the opening game of the series.
Roy Hibbert: Center
Roy Hibbert doesn't exactly fly under the radar. Standing at 7'2", Hibbert is a force to be reckoned with down low, and could create a lot of problems for Miami in the post.
This postseason, Hibbert has averaged 14 points per game, to go along with 9.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. You might recall his massive block on Carmelo Anthony in Indiana's win over the New York Knicks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, displaying his great defensive ability during a clutch moment in the game.
Miami does not have a player on their roster who possesses the size that Hibbert brings to the floor. While Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen have both been solid for the Heat throughout this postseason, they have not had to go up against somebody of Hibbert's size and ability.
George Hill: Point guard
Indiana's offensive attack doesn't center around big scorers; they have several players who are capable of distributing the ball to make for a balanced style of play. One player who has helped orchestrate their offense this postseason has been George Hill, who could put up great numbers in Game 1.
Some of Hill's success could depend on how Miami chooses to play him defensively. Dwayne Wade has suffered from a knee injury throughout the playoffs, and despite playing through it, appears to still be hampered by it.
Hill is averaging 14.2 points per game this postseason, but has scored 21 points or more in three playoff games. Should Hill find himself being guarded by Wade for most of tonight's matchup, he could flourish offensively due to Wade's injury.
Indiana has many talented players who should be able to push Miami to the limit if they perform to their ability. Look for Hibbert and Hill to play key roles in the first game of this series, giving Indiana a chance to take a 1-0 lead over the Miami Heat.