The Pacers will pose a more difficult matchup for Miami than the Knicks. An interesting stat: the Heat outscore the Pacers by eight points per 100 possessions with Hibbert on the court compared to 22.8 when Hibbert exits the game. Unfortunately, Hibbert can’t possibly play every single minute of the series. Prediction: Heat in six.
What it all comes down to is the 2012 MVP LeBron James against Danny Granger. The Pacer’s size will be a bit of a problem, but Granger has to step his game up. In Miami, Granger shoots 38.7% from the field compared to his career average of 43.8% from the field. If he can somehow turn it up and help steal Games 1 or 2, this could get interesting. Prediction: Heat in six.
(4) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers won the season series and they did limit the Celtics’ offense to 94.5 points per 100 possessions. However, I just don’t see them enjoying the same amount of success this time around against a similarly imposing defensive team. Prediction: Celtics in six.
The Celtics have to put the regular season in the past. This is a series they should win, considering the Sixers needed a boneheaded CJ Watson pass to Omer Asik to finish off the banged-up Bulls. Keep the boys healthy, and this should be smooth sailing for Boston. Prediction: Celtics in five.