Miami: And1!… More To Go

The Heat throttled the Pacers at home on Tuesday night and are now just one game away from heading to the conference finals.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Does this mean Miami is the favorite once again? A 115-83 win over a dilapidated Indiana team would sure seem so.

It was just days ago when the basketball world was leaning towards the Pacers to upset the Bosh-less Heat; that was before LeBron James went on his rampage — dropping 40 points and nearly 20 rebounds in game four, and finishing game five with 30 points and ten boards. Dwyane Wade also chimed in on Tuesday night with 28 points of his own, which included multiple circus 'and-1s' that brought the home crowd to their feet. It was obvious from the opening tip that it would be Miami's night.

"This is our challenge right now, to leave it behind us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "A lot of good things tonight, but we have to focus on the next one."

And it will be a little easier to focus on the 'next one,' considering Danny Granger — Indiana's best player — and David West, both left game five with injuries. Granger sprained his ankle in the third quarter and left the arena in a walking boot, while West suffered a left knee sprain at the end of the same period.

Game six is in Indiana on Thursday night, and if those two guys aren't 100 percent, they'll have a tough time shutting down the incredibly hot duo of James and Wade. In fact, the entire Miami team as a whole has turned on the 'turbo' mode.

Miami shot a franchise playoff-record 61 percent on Tuesday — best of any team in the playoffs this season. Before Granger departed, it was an 11-point game — after he left early in the third quarter, the Heat outscored the Pacers by 21 the rest of the game.

"They played at their tempo," West said. "We weren't able to get enough stops. You can't allow a team to shoot 60, 60-plus, whatever from the field."

And correct me if I'm wrong, but you also can't let another team get in your head.

There were multiple technical fouls and cheap-shots in Tuesday night's contest, further proving these teams don't like each other. But whether the Pacers like the Heat or not, they'll have to deal with the fact that they haven't led at any point in the last 1 hour, 5 minutes, 20 seconds of the series.

It looks like it's still Miami's conference to lose at this point. But wouldn't it still be fun to see this series go seven?

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.