The Miami Heat are on the verge of their fourth straight Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The Heat put a strangle hold on this series with a 102-96 win in Game 4. LeBron James tied a career high by notching 49 points. James made 16 of his 24 shots and once again made Paul Pierce look foolish defensively. James is averaging 30.3 points per game during this series.

Still, the Nets are a proud, veteran bunch that will not give up their season without a fight. Brooklyn must defeat Miami three times in five days in order to advance. Talk about a difficult journey. To make matters worse for Brooklyn, the LeBron-led Heat are 8-0 at home in potential close-out games. Two of these eight victories came against Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett when they were members of the Boston Celtics. Pierce and team mate Joe Johnson have stepped up offensive. The two wing players are averaging 30 points per game, which matches James. 

A win on Wednesday would slot Miami back into the NBA’s version of the Final 4. James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh know what’s at stake and how they cannot give the Nets an inch of breathing room. Expect a spirited, high pace effort from Miami.

The books are backing the Heat as Miami is slotted as a seven-point home favorite. That number may seem steep given the closely fought Game 4, but I’m expect James and Co. to come out with a huge effort. Expect a Miami win in excess of ten points.

The Pick: Heat -7