The Miami Heat were put to the test in their NBA Eastern Conference finals by the Indiana Pacers, but managed to come out on top by winning the seventh and deciding game on Monday night. The Heat routed the Pacers 99-76 and will now move on to the NBA Finals to take on the Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs.
Miami was led by reigning NBA MVP LeBron James who scored a game high 32 points, while grabbing 8 rebounds and handing out 4 assists. James was helped by teammate Dwayne Wade who scored 21 points. Wade, who has suffered from a knee injury since late in the regular season, played his best game of the seven game series.
The victory showed how James can take control of a series both on the offensive end and defensive end. He not only led the game in scoring, but his defensive skills shut down the top scorer for Indiana, Paul George. James held George to seven points on just 2 for 9 shooting. George ended up fouling out early in the fourth quarter of the game after suffering through his most difficult game of the postseason.
Miami won the NBA championship last season defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder and this will be the third consecutive time they have reached the NBA Finals. The Heat lost in the 2011 finals to the Dallas Mavericks.
Indiana however can take some solace in the way they performed in the postseason. The Pacers defeated the Atlanta Hawks in the first round, and easily knocked the higher seeded New York Knicks out in the semifinals.
The NBA finals are scheduled to start in Miami on Thursday June 6, with the odds makers making Miami the early favorite in game 1 by 6 points.