Tonight at 8:30 ET on ESPN it’s Heat-Pacers for the 6th game of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat hold a dominant 3-2 advantage as they lace up for what will hopefully bring closure to the NBA’s biggest faux-rivalry. The Pacers come into the American Airlines Arena after defeating the Heat by 3 in the preceding Game 5, a game in which LeBron James was an essential non-factor, taken out of the game by questionable ticky-tack foul calls; James scored only 7 points in 23 minutes of limited activity. Tonight, the Heat hope to use the excitement of the Miami crowd to power them over the Pacers and repeat, nay, FOURpeat as Eastern Conference Champions!
Chris "Birdman" Andersen did not participate in this morning’s shoot-around and is listed as a game time decision for tonight’s game 6. If he does not play the starting line-up is predicted to remain the same from games 3 and 4:
PG: Mario Chalmers
SG: Dwyane Wade
SF: LeBron James
PF: Rashard Lewis
C: Chris Bosh
If Birdman is active and is expected to play his normal amount of minutes expect the lineup to reflect this change, most likely returning Udonis Haslem to the starting line-up in place of Lewis.
News and Notes:
After plays made in game 5, Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert were both fined a combined $15,000 for violating the NBA’s "flopping" policy. To read more about the fines and the plays that preceded them, check out HotHotHoops writer Hayley Byrnes’ coverage here
Larry Bird made news when it was reported that he was not a fan of the antics pulled by young Pacers guard Lance Stephenson. Bird explained that he did not want these displays to continue. Stephenson is a known irritant and loves to get under the skin of other players, LeBron James especially, in this series. For more information on this developing story, check out Jeff Zillgitt’s piece in USA Today
Referees: Much is being made about the referees in this series, especially after LeBron James picked up 5 fouls quite early in game 5, which is rather uncharacteristic for James, a savvy defender. Tonight’s referee crew consists of Scott Foster, Mike Callahan and Jason Phillips. Sean Corbin serves as the alternate.
For a full and comprehensive breakdown of tonight’s game, Matt Pineda of HotHotHoops previews the game.