Read a preview and watch a live stream of the Heat vs the Pacers.
Where: Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.
When: Sunday May 18, 20:30 BST
Watch live: Click here to watch on BT Sport online!
Two heavyweights of the East go to battle on Sunday as the Miami Heat take on the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Having seen Miami end their season the last two years, the Pacers have made steady progress to reach this point after losing in the second round in 2012 before pushing the two-time defending champions all the way in a Game 7 at this same stage last year.
However, despite both teams emphasising defense, sharing the ball, dominating the paint and getting the advantage from their outside shooters, only one will prevail and advance to the NBA Finals.
Indiana have left no room for excuses despite their late stumble in the regular season and their on-going troubles through the playoffs in getting past the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards.
By securing the top seed in the Conference they will have home-court advantage, but the Heat have shown so far in the post-season that they are well on course for a third consecutive championship.
Having brushed aside both the Charlotte Bobcats and Brooklyn Nets, LeBron James and Co. will be looking to do the same with the Pacers, but ultimately they are likely to be met with more resistance from their bitter rivals.
Lance Stephenson has increased the tension between these two by insisting that he wants to test out Dwyane Wade’s knee, seemingly bringing injuries into the discussion for no apparent reason.
However, the Pacers guard believes that his team will thrive as the underdog, but they will need their leaders to step up and deliver on a consistent basis.
Roy Hibbert has been missing at times and will need to play well every night, although Miami will have seen previous series and identified the weakness against a smaller unit and three-point shooting.
Wade’s fitness will likely play a key role but ultimately it is all on which team is able to get key stops and execute on the offensive end in turn, and that is why this is such an intriguing series which is likely to be a thrill a minute.