The Miami Heat blew out the Indiana Pacers last night by playing classic Heat basketball. For Miami to be effective they have to play the passing lanes and create turnovers. This allows the Heat to use their lethal fast break to completely demoralize an opponent. The Pacers have to get back to half court basketball and use their size advantage to send this series to game seven. Both LeBron James and Dwayne Wade carried the Heat last night as they combined for 58 points. The bench showed up last night as Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem and James Jones had solid performances.
The Western Conference finals are set as Oklahoma City will face the San Antonio Spurs. It will be interesting to see if the Thunder learned anything from their appearance in the Western Conference finals last season. San Antonio has the look of the Dallas Mavericks of 2011. The Spurs have three championship tested veterans Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili they have a deep bench of role players and great coach Greg Popovich. The Spurs will definitely slow the tempo down and clog the paint to prevent Thunder guard Russell Westbrook from slashing to the basket. When Westbrook can slash to the basket he becomes a dual threat. He can use his athleticism to go to the rim or he can kick the ball outside to Kevin Durant for spot up jumpers from outside.
The Boston Celtics are up three games to two over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics have the edge because of veteran experience. The Sixers have played like a young and inexperienced team. One game they look unbeatable and the next terrible. This will be a great learning experience for Philadelphia. They are a lot like Oklahoma City of last season. They have some exciting players but, they need more maturity and have to get a competent big man in the off season. Boston, because of the age factor of their team, needs to close Philadelphia as soon as possible. They will need all the rest they can get before playing in the Eastern Conference finals. See how these teams are stacking up in the betting odds on NBA Playoffs.
In baseball the Cincinnati Reds are starting to get their act together. After a slow start the Reds are challenging the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the National League Central Division. Matt Latos is starting to show the form of a top line starter. He, along with Johnny Cueto, give the Reds a one two punch that can match any team in baseball. Latos struggled early this season because in my opinion, he had to adjust to pitching in the hitter friendly Great American Ball Park. Last season he pitched in San Diego’s pitcher friendly Petco Park. For the Reds to put any distance between them and their division rivals they have to get more consistent hitting.