Pacers vs. Heat Links: Pacers look to extend season with Game 6 win over Heat

USA TODAY Sports

Do-or-die time for the Pacers as they find themselves in the familiar position of needing a win at home against the Heat.

The Indiana Pacers find themselves in an eerily similar situation to the one they face in the playoffs last season.

Down 3-2 to the Miami Heat. At home for Game 6 after a kerfuffle involving Tyler Hansbrough. The Heat minus a big man (Birdman the big man) thanks to the kerfuffle involving Tyler Hansbrough. Oh, and LeBron James.

There are plenty of differences that favor the Pacers this time around, though. For one, the young Pacers have been through the fire of getting closed out by the Heat last year. Since then Paul George has improved drastically, as has Roy Hibbert. Lance Stephenson has emerged as a factor, if only on the Fieldhouse floor. David West remains a rock, combining with Hibbert to give the Pacers a strong interior advantage.

On the Miami side of things, it doesn't appear that the Heat can rely on Dwyane Wade to go next planet on them like he did in Game 6 last year by scoring 41 points and leading a second-half ambush of the Pacers. Wade and Chris Bosh remain hobbled with knee and ankle issues which puts them in supporting roles. Mike Miller knocked down four frustrating three-balls but he's not a factor this time around. Still, the Pacers can't let Shane Battier or Ray Allen assume that role.

The biggest thing the Heat have going for them is the smell of the NBA Finals. They've been here before and marched on to the finals the past two seasons. If things are tight down the stretch, that experience may put the Heat over the top.

Oh...and LeBron.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers vs Heat, Game 6 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Who will show up in Game 6: Good Lance Stephenson or Bad Lance Stephenson? | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com

Bob Kravitz: We're going back to Miami for Game 7 | Indianapolis Star | indystar.comBob Kravitz: We're going back to Miami for Game 7 | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com

Pacers' Challenge is a Big One | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS

Don’t blame the refs; Pacers have been own worst enemies - 1070 The Fan

Heat-Pacers Game 6: Hibbert, Pacers have proved they belong - CBSSports.com

Pacers express confidence, Heat urge caution for Game 6 - NBA - Ian Thomsen - SI.com

David West wants to return to Pacers after season

NBA suspends Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen after Game 5 altercation with Tyler Hansbrough - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh still making contributions against Indiana Pacers - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com

Linda Robertson: Heat-Pacers is riveting theater - Linda Robertson - MiamiHerald.com

Preview: Heat hope to close out Pacers in Game 6 of Eastern Conference Finals - Hot Hot Hoops

Video: Shane Battier’s flopera | The Basketball Jones | Blogs | theScore.com

Former NBA All-Star Mookie Blaylock is in critical condition following a car accident | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports

Bucks hire Larry Drew as coach - Yahoo! Sports

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