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The Eastern Conference finals are set with the Miami Heat facing the Indiana Pacers for the right to advance to the NBA Finals. Who will come out on top? SI.com writers Ian Thomsen, Lee Jenkins, Chris Mannix, Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney make their picks.
One year ago the Pacers grabbed homecourt advantage and a 2-1 lead in their Eastern semifinal before LeBron James and Dwyane Wade exploded offensively, winning the next three games for Miami en route to the title. Some things haven't changed: Wade is hurting physically now, as he was last year, and the Pacers will be hoping to exploit their advantage in size. But there are also two crucial differences: Miami enters this rematch with the confidence of a defending champion, while the Pacers' leading scorer of one year ago, All-Star veteran Danny Granger, has been injured and replaced by Paul George, a third-year small forward just finishing his first year as an All-Star.