Heat vs. Pacers Game 1 Preview
The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers open their best-of-seven playoff series on Tuesday afternoon.
By: Eduardo Solano
Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 – 04:00 PM EDT at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Time to bring in the quants. Comparing the following projections to the NBA odds will help us make the right choice:
FiveThirtyEight: Heat 52 percent
Equivalent Odds (using an Odds Converter): -108
The Heat opened as 3.5-point favorites. Over at FiveThirtyEight, they have the Heat as 0.5-point faves, leaving a 3-point gap between the projections and the actual NBA odds.
That three-point difference is usually enough for us to not recommend opening up your wallet and/or purse and splashing some money around on the favorite. So what will it be, Human or Machine?
Warren vs. Butler
T.J. Warren missed the 108-104 win against the Rockets on Wednesday because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
ESPN reported that the plantar fasciitis is “not serious” and that Warren will be ready for the playoffs.
Pacers head coach Nate McMillan explained that Warren experienced it “throughout the season and been able to play on it.”
Warren averaged 31.0 points in six games after the NBA restart, tied for fourth in the league. The 26-year-old shot 57.8 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from beyond the arc. He had a career-high 53 points in a 127-121 win against the 76ers on August 1st.
The Heat beat the Pacers 114-92 on August 10th, with Jimmy Butler outplaying T.J. Warren. Butler and Warren’s feud began with a heated confrontation in a game back in January. Jimmy Buckets didn’t forget this.
Butler proved that no one in the NBA scores, rebounds, makes plays, defends and leads his like him, finishing the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals.
After the game in January he said: “I can guard him and he can’t guard me.” He guarded Warren to start the game last Monday while the Pacers forward guarded Jae Crowder.
Warren had just 12 points on 5-for-14 from the field in 29 minutes and the Heat outscored the Pacers by 11 points when he was on the court.
Warren missed Friday’s 109-92 win against the Heat on Friday. It wasn’t a meaningful game, both teams rested most of their starters because being No. 4 or No. 5 doesn’t make a difference with no home court advantage in the NBA bubble. The team that advances to the second round will have to face either the Bucks or Magic any way.
Warren participated in practice on Sunday and he should be ready to go on Tuesday.
This is what Jimmy Butler told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald about his matchup with T.J. Warren: “Look, I just play basketball. I’m going to go out there and be the best player on the floor. That’s what Miami has me here to do. I’m not worried about nobody’s matchup. We can kill that. That’s dead. That’s something of the past.”
Knowing Butler from his time with my Chicago Bulls, I can’t trust him, stopping Warren is his personal mission.
The Miami Heat are:
22-8 ATS in their last 30 games following a straight up loss
10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points
5-2 ATS in their last seven playoff games as a favorite
31-15-2 ATS in their last 48 games following an ATS loss
The Indiana Pacers are:
0-3-1 ATS in their last four games in the first round of the playoffs
The Pacers rely too much on T.J. Warren (plus-1.1 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) on offense and I can’t back them until he proves that he can overpower Jimmy Butler (plus-1.4 Defensive Box Plus/Minus).
NBA Pick: Heat 1st half -1.5 (-115) at Bookmaker
Ed’s 2019-20 NBA picks record through Aug. 17: 4-1 ATS, 2-0 Moneylines, 6-3 Totals