There is not much like a Game 7 in sports, whether it comes in the NBA -- as it does tonight, when the Indiana Pacers face the Miami Heat at 8:30 p.m. on TNT -- or in baseball or hockey or any other extended series.
NASCAR's chief, Brian France, once explained the idea behind instituting a playoff system in his sport by saying NASCAR needed more "Game 7 type moments."
That's a worthy goal, although NASCAR certainly doesn't get there very often. A Game 7 -- when each team has beaten each other three times and knows very well the series hangs on a precipice -- is just great theater.
To beat Miami in Miami would be quite a tall order for Indiana tonight, but the Pacers are capable. They hold a 5-4 total edge in meetings this season. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have seen their roles shrink in the offense as LeBron James has been forced to go into "Cleveland mode," trying to win games almost by himself.
"I mean, we can state the obvious, they're both struggling," LeBron said of the other two members of the Big Three after Miami's Game 6 loss.
To win, the Heat will need Bosh in particular to step up and stop getting squashed by Roy Hibbert inside. The Pacers will need a big game from Paul George on both ends and not to get overwhelmed by the moment.
San Antonio should be favored over either team, as the Spurs have seemingly been waiting on the winner of this series forever. But tonight should be great stuff -- the sort of win-or-go-home game that the NCAA tournament provides us more than 60 times but which professional basketball doesn't give us often enough.