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2012 NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat Vs. Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Semifinals Matchup Fan's View

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The Miami Heat needed two chances to do it, but they did get it done. After taking a 3-0 series lead over the New York Knicks in the opening round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, Miami lost Game 4 before closing the series with a 106-94 victory in Game 5.

The Heat and their All-Star Trio of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will now face the Indiana Pacers in an Eastern Conference semifinals matchup. The Pacers, who will be appearing in the second round of the postseason for the first time since 2005, earned their trip to the conference semifinals by defeating the Orlando Magic 4-1.

During the regular season, Miami and Indiana met four times with the Heat winning the series three games to one. On Sunday, May 13, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers will begin their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup.

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Semifinals Schedule

Game 1: Sunday, May 13, Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: Tuesday, May 15, Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat, 7:00 p.m. ET on TNT

Game 3: Thursday, May 17, Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers, TBD on ESPN

Game 4: Sunday, May 20, Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 5: Tuesday, May 22, Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat, TBD on TNT (if necessary)

Game 6: Thursday, May 24, Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers, TBD (if necessary)

Game 7: Saturday, May 26, Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat, TBD (if necessary)

The Indiana Pacers, who have won 16 of their last 20 games dating back to April 1, head into Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena riding a seven-game road winning streak. Indiana's last road loss came to the San Antonio Spurs back on March 31. The Pacers would steal home-court advantage and put all kinds of pressure on the defending Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat if they can extend their road win streak to eight games.

Prior to the start of Game 1, LeBron James will be presented with the 2012 NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Two years ago, when he was still a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, James was presented with the 2010 MVP trophy before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Boston Celtics spoiled James' MVP trophy presentation that night by beating the Cavaliers, 104-86, and stealing home-court advantage. Boston went on to win that series.

If James and the Heat want to win Game 1 of this series and avoid duplicating that fateful night in Cleveland, they will have to put an end to Indiana's road winning streak. To do that, Miami will have to maintain its focus for a full 48 minutes.

The Heat need to remain engaged and focused at all times to win this series. So far in the playoffs, the Pacers are just one of three teams (the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat are the others) that have a double-digit efficiency differential. Indiana is a gritty, hard-working team that will find ways to take advantage of any lackadaisical play by the Heat.

To give themselves a chance at winning this matchup, the Pacers will have to limit their turnovers. Indiana must remain aware of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade lurking in the passing lanes. During the playoffs, both James (2.20) and Wade (2.80) are averaging more than two steals per game. As a team, Miami forced the New York Knicks into 92 turnovers over the course of five games during the first round.

The Pacers, who will have enough trouble guarding James and Wade in Miami's half-court offensive sets as it is, cannot afford to give the Heat easy transition buckets by turning the ball over. If Indiana wants to continue moving forward in the postseason, the Pacers will have to limit Miami's transition opportunities and do a much better job than New York did in protecting the ball from the Heat.

Prediction: Heat 4-1

Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.

More on the 2012 NBA Playoffs:

2012 NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Vs. Philadelphia 76ers Eastern Conference Semifinals Matchup Fan's View

2012 NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat Vs. New York Knicks Fan's Preview

2012 NBA Playoffs: Indiana Pacers Vs. Orlando Magic Fan's Preview

2012 NBA Playoffs: Memphis Grizzlies Vs. Los Angeles Clippers Fan's Preview

2012 NBA Playoff Power Rankings: Fan's Take

Information from ESPN.com's Miami Heat 2012 Schedule, Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers--Recap--May 03, 2010, Hollinger's NBA Team Stats, Miami Heat 2012 Stats, 2011-12 Postseason NBA Team Stats; and Basketball-Reference.com's Indiana Pacers Franchise Index was used for this article.

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