Pacers vs. Heat
Spurs vs. Clippers
The top remaining seed in each Conference will be in action on Tuesday when the Indiana Pacers visit the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their NBA semifinal series in the East and the San Antonio Spurs host the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their playoff matchup in the West. The second-seeded Heat took a 1-0 series lead with a 95-86 victory in Game 1 on Sunday behind a combined 61 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists from their “Big Two” of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The third member of Miami’s “Big Three” did not make it through the end of the Game, as Chris Bosh left the series opener with a strained lower abdominal muscle that will keep him out “indefinitely” following an MRI on Monday. Bosh had 13 points and five rebounds in the first half and seemed to be on his way to a big Game but was forced to leave before halftime. James picked up the slack though in the Fourth quarter, when he scored 16 of his Game-high 32 points.
The Pacers got off to a fast start and held a 48-42 lead at halftime, but they struggled down the stretch. Indiana’s leading scorer Danny Granger made only 1 of 10 shots from the field and finished with just seven points after averaging 21.4 points in five Games against the sixth-seeded Orlando Magic in the previous round. The Pacers will need to figure out a way to get Granger going and expose the Heat inside without Bosh around since he was playing center in a smaller lineup. Miami (-7.5) will likely replace Bosh in the lineup with either Ronny Turiaf or Joel Anthony.
While Bosh’s injury is certainly a concern for the Heat, the fifth-seeded Clippers have a couple to worry about in point guard Chris Paul (strained hip) and power forward Blake Griffin (sprained knee) heading into Game 1 of their series against the top-seeded Spurs (-11.5). Neither Paul nor Griffin were themselves in an 82-72 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 7 on Sunday. Paul had just Four assists while Griffin had eight points and Four rebounds, but the team’s bench came through with 41 points, including 25 of the team’s 27 in the Fourth quarter.
LA’s reserves will likely need to play well again here to compete with the well-rested Spurs, who have not played since last Monday when they completed a Four-Game sweep of the eighth-seeded Utah Jazz. San Antonio power forward Tim Duncan and point guard Tony Parker should be able to take advantage of the injuries to Griffin and Paul, respectively, in their individual matchups. In the series victory against the Jazz, Parker averaged 21 points and 6.5 assists in the Four Games while Duncan was able to keep his minutes down, averaging just 30 per Game.