Indiana Pacers 49 - 32 vs. Miami Heat 66 - 16
Regular Season Series: Indiana Pacers 2, Miami Heat 1
The Miami Heat enters the Eastern Conference Finals as heavy favorites against the Indiana Pacers. They have lost only three times in their last forty eight games and have faced little resistance from their opponents thus far in the 2013 post season. However, the Pacers should give the Heat a fight in this series. They defeated the Heat twice in the regular season and have the interior size in center Roy Hibbert and forward David West to expose the Heat’s weakness in the paint.
This will not be an easy series for the Heat and they should not take the Pacers lightly. Here are five observations that could decide the outcome of the series.
The willpower of Lebron James
Arsenal's supposed transfer deal for Stevan Jovetic is in doubt, after Fiorentina denied they were in talks with the Gunners. The Florence club are also holding out for £30 million, a figure Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is reluctant to pay.
Failure to land Jovetic, his presumptive top target, would be a major blow to Wenger. It would be a poor start to a critical summer that is supposed to herald a shift in Arsenal's sending policy.
News that Wenger is put off by the asking price, likely won't please sections of Arsenal's supporters. They have gotten used to frugal spending habits from the Frenchman.
Many see his hesitance to spend big as the main reason Arsenal have failed to lift a trophy in eight years. None of that will matter to Fiorentina, who are determined to receive £30 million for Jovetic, according to reports in both The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror.
News literally hot off the press is that West Ham has agreed a fee of £15m with Liverpool for striker Andy Carroll. Carroll was originally part of the Fernando Torres deal, whereby Torres went to Chelsea from Liverpool for £50m and Carroll went from Newcastle United for £35m.
Since Brendan Rodgers has been manager of Liverpool, it has become clear that Carroll will not be part of his plans now or in the future, so his transfer has been rumbling on all season. Now it appears that with West Ham having preserved their Premier League status for another year, it will mean that they will benefit from the huge new television deals which will effectively double the television earning of every Premier League club next season.
West Ham has obviously decided that they can use some of that windfall in advance and have agreed the bid in the region of £15m. Carroll has not said yet whether he will accept the move, so it cannot be considered a done deal, but the fact that Liverpool has accepted a substantially reduced offer for the player makes clear their determination to move him on and reduce their wage bill ready for new players next season.
Latest news hot from my Italian friend is that Edison Cavani of Napoli is in talks with Manchester City via his agents. Whilst this has been roundly rumoured throught the last few weeks of the season, it was clouded a little by the introduction of Chelsea`s interest. However, we have now heard directly from Napoli President, Aurelio De Laurentiis, that he has held preliminary talks with Manchester City over the transfer of Cavani. He has also made it clear that the deal will be dependent on Dzeko going the other way. If that is the case, it is still possible that the deal will fall through, as Dzeko has made it clear that he will not be shunted around like a pawn in any transfer deals just to suit the owners at the Etihad.
In a side issue, the Napoli President also made it known that no approach has been made to Rafael Benitez with a view to him becoming the next manager of Napoli. De Laurentiis recently went to London on other business not particularly associated with football, so the UK media as usual put two and two together and made five!
Arsenal are reportedly close to completing the signing of Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic for £24.5 million. The deal would be a major signal of intent, to begin a summer where Arsenal are set to flex their financial muscle.
Reports in The Metro claim Jovetic's agent is in London to receive Arsenal's offer and work on the terms. A similar report from Football-italia.net, suggests Arsenal have bid €28 million for the classy Montenegro frontman.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been eager to sign Jovetic for a while. Rumors of an imminent deal having been going strong for over a month.
For once Wenger is armed with the finances to make this kind of marquee signing happen. After sealing a 16th-straight top-four finish, Wenger is said to have a transfer war chest of up to £70 million, according to The Daily Mirror.