After a tumultuous six games, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers will collide for a decisive seventh on Monday evening, with the winner going on to face the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals.
Over the past two weeks, LeBron James has solidified his legacy as one of the game’s greatest, but Indiana has also defied NBA odds.
To put it bluntly, the Pacers even making their way to Game 7 in this conference championship series is a victory in itself. It’s worth noting, however, that the Pacers didn’t just make it here — they’ve emerged as a legitimate title contender, striking more fear in the hearts of Heat supporters than any team since Miami fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 postseason.
Might the Heat come up short of a title again? According to oddsmakers, it’s possible but unlikely. Then again, according to oddsmakers, the Heat were forecast to steamroll their way through Paul George, Roy Hibbert and company en route to the finals.
The Heat are seven-point favorite for the critical Game 7 and still have 2-3 odds of winning the NBA championship outright.
Eventually Indiana’s patience with the sports world might run short, and who can blame them? Will they ever truly get the recognition they deserve as bona fide Eastern threats? In the past six months, basketball fans have seen them rise to the forefront of the conference, to the point where they stand toe-to-toe with the consensus NBA favorite. It hasn’t translated to public opinion, though.
While James and the Big Three struggle to back up their unprecedented hype and expectations, the Pacers have slowly made stars out of George, Hibbert and David West, who have each embraced the limelight that has come with their deep postseason run.
Many knew that Frank Vogel’s Pacers were one of the deepest, most defensively sound organizations of the past half-decade, but few imagined their efforts would pay off in such a significant manner.
Still, considering the lingering buzz that leans toward Miami, the Pacers have just 15-2 odds on those same NBA futures — the discrepancy, of course, indicative of just how little recognition the franchise gets when push comes to shove.
Unfortunately, that’s not likely to change until they officially eliminate the Miami Heat and inherit the throne atop the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
It just may happen Monday night.
This post is presented by Bovada.