It's getting down to the wire in the 2014 NBA playoffs, with both series now sitting at 3-2 in the Western and Eastern Conference finals.
While the West could be decided over the weekend, the East finals are heading back to Florida. The Miami Heat, after letting one slip through their grasp in Indianapolis, will look to make a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance with a win over the Indiana Pacers.
The two-time defending champions have the Pacers against the ropes but can't afford to relieve home-court advantage and head back to Indiana with the series tied.
Before Game 6 of the East finals officially gets underway on Friday night, here's a look at the full TV information and breakdown for the pivotal matchup.
NBA Playoffs Schedule
What: Eastern Conference Finals Game 6
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
When: Friday, May 30, 8:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
* An updated bracket for the NBA playoffs can be found at NBA.com.
Eastern Conference Finals Breakdown
As promising as the fourth straight trip to the Finals looked for Miami after Game 4, the series could take a huge swing if Indiana somehow wins Game 6.
This is a spot the Heat are comfortable in. After being down 3-2 in the NBA Finals last season, the Heat came back to take the series and downed the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7.
As for what the keys will be for the Heat to finish the series on Friday night, look no further than getting to the charity stripe. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press points out the ineptitude of the Heat at drawing fouls in Game 5:
That performance by Miami comes shortly after Paul George hinted that the Heat were treated with "home cooking" in Miami just a few nights before. Maybe it's just ironic, but we'll find out Friday night.
On the Pacers' end, the antics of Lance Stephenson have been well-publicized throughout the series. From calling out LeBron James to blowing in his ear, the tactics have led to mixed results for Stephenson.
James shared his thoughts on the ridiculous shenanigans, per USA Today:
The 29-year-old superstar also spoke about his poor performance in Game 5, via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:
It sucks for me because I’m not able to make plays to help our team win. I made a couple in the fourth, but 24 minutes is not enough for me to make an imprint on the game like I know I’m accustomed to doing or I know I can do. So you just continue to help the guys from the bench, let them know what you can see when you’re in foul trouble, and ways we can try to exploit them. But I’m much better on the floor than I am off of it, for sure.
After George lit up the Heat in Game 5 with 37 points, six steals and six rebounds, the Pacers star will be leaned on heavily again in Miami. Whether or not the swingman steps up on the road will be a crucial factor for the No. 1 seed.
With hopes of returning home and regaining momentum, the Pacers will certainly come out firing in the huge road game. But against a Heat team that has already been through the ringer in the playoffs and came out on top the last two seasons, Miami still has the experience and firepower to get the job done.
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