The elephant in the room has been spotted. No, I’m not kidding. For the entirety of this season, I can honestly say without any exaggeration whatsoever, myself as well as all NBA fans have been subjected the belief the Miami Heat are going to roll into another championship without even breaking a sweat. The LBJ love from the league this year has been as vast and ever expanding as the universe, and “#HeatNation” grows by the day. 20 out of 20 ESPN experts predict the Heat will take the series from the Indiana Pacers and move on to the NBA finals. Not one single ESPN employee was going out on a limb on this one. All of them picked the Heat. Quite frankly, I can see why all of these things happened. The Miami Heat are one of the best teams the league has seen in a long time. Period. Lebron James is one of the best, if not the very best basketball player alive. Period. So to say I was surprised to see Miami take the advantage in the series would be untrue. Keep in mind, this is a team that wib 66 out of 82 games in a season. That is simply incredible. But 20 for 20? No one thought it was even conciebable for Indiana to win four games against the Heat? That’s preposterous. The thing about the Pacers is that they are not by themselves a super intimidating team. They don’t have one big superstar and the heroics performed by Paul George still manage to go largely unnoticed. However, it isn’t George’s thunderous dunks, or even Frank Vogel’s horribly misinterpreted interviews that can give them the victory. The key to this series is rebounding. The Heat are the worst rebounding team in organized basketball. It does not get any worse than 30th, and that is where Miami lies. Quite possibly the only Achilles heel of the Heat is their inability to grab boards. This was clearly by design on the part of GM Pat Riley and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra. Miami is a fast paced team with defense and the fast break as their pillars of success. Clearly, that has worked so far. Indiana can’t out defend Miami. They can’t out think them. But they can outrebound Miami, and if they do so effectively, they can take an edge. The key to this lies in Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Hibbert is 7’2 and 280 pounds of all-american Georgetown muscle. While Chris Bosh outscores Roy Hibbert, the advantage for Bosh stops there. Hibbert has a full 45 pounds and three inches on Bosh. His game is old school and is built around an array of post moves and careful touches that allow him to score with the best of them. Hibbert is easily a top 10 center in the league and has potential to be the best. At only 27, he is not fully in his prime, but displays incredible speed for a player of size and at his position. Hibbert also drags in two extra rebounds and a block over Chris Bosh. David West is no stiff either. An aggressive forward with a decent shooting touch, West can also become a problem for Miami in the paint. If Frank Vogel rested upon the two of them for rebounding, and gave the scoring reigns to Paul George, it would be a risk. But if that risk paid off, and the Pacers could significantly outrebound Miami, it could be the difference in the series. Also, an intensified rebounding initiative from the Pacers could put a serious dent in Miami’s fast break points, a staple in their run-and-gun based offense. No Miami Heat forwards are going to flop their way out of that. That being said, the danger of the Pacers lies in their ability to keep up with Miami. If the Heat slow down the pace and try to bring shots into the paint, Hibbert and West become an issue. If they stick to their usual speed based routine, they have Paul George and DJ Augustine to deal with instead. Add that in with some serious bench studs in gritty Tyler Hansborough and high flying Gerald Green, and the Pacers suddenly aren’t the jokers they are made out to be. Is it likely that they win the series? Not very. Is it possible? Entirely. That’s why I’m going out on a limb and taking the Indiana Pacers over the Miami Heat in 7 games.