The Indiana Pacers were able to finish off their series against the Washington Wizards last night by a final score of 93-80, and David West was one of the key reasons. He scored 29 points on 13-of-26 shooting, and was a leader on the court that drove the Pacers to the win. Now the focus turns to the Miami Heat, who will be coming into Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Game 1 on Sunday afternoon. If the Pacers are going to knock off the Heat and reach the NBA Finals, they are going to need a heavy dosage of West.
One of the Pacers’ biggest issues throughout the course of the NBA season has been their ability to score the basketball consistently. West is one of the most consistent frontcourt scorers in the league, and is certainly one of Indiana’s most efficient scorers when his shot is on. There have been stretches throughout the course of the regular season and playoffs that West has struggled, but that can’t happen against the Heat.
West has averaged 14.6 points per game during the postseason this year, and has been one of the main reasons that the Pacers have battled through all the disappointment. He has had a history of being a problem for the Heat, and will look to continue the leadership that he has shown throughout the playoffs to this point. His defense has also been one of the keys for the Pacers this season, and he will once again be asked to rebound the basketball at a high level as well.
Not only is West considered a key scorer for the Pacers, he is also one of the key passers. The Pacers don’t have a true point guard, so they rely on their entire roster to move the basketball. Throughout the 2014 postseason, he has averaged 4.4 assists per game, and every single assist will be important against a very difficult Heat defense.
These two teams have a history of having incredibly difficult games down the stretch, and are known for battling to the bitter end. West is the Pacers’ number one guy down the stretch when they absolutely need baskets, and he’ll have to make sure that he hits the same type of big shots hat he just hit against the Wizards. The Pacers haven’t faced a team like the Heat in playoff mode since last season in the playoffs, so they’ll have to come prepared. Expect to see a very hard fought series that should go at least six games.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.