Pacers talk trash about Defending Eastern Conference Champs
By: Matt Pineda
Last year, as the HEAT prepared for their second round matchup against the Boston Celtics, they had nothing but praise for the defending conference champs. They knew the road ran through them and that they were a veteran ball club that had been there.
This year, the defending conference champs are being treated a little differently. The Pacers are preparing to face the HEAT and decided that they would let Miami and the world know they aren’t scared. Not only are they not scared, but that Miami is a bunch of floppers. Here’s a few things they’ve said, just one day in.
Pacers Coach Frank Vogel:
“They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA. It will be very interesting to see how the referees officiate this series and how much flopping they reward. Every time you drive to the basket, they’ve got guys not making a play on the ball, but sliding in front of drivers, often times they’re falling down before contact is even made. It’ll be very interesting to see how this series is officiated.”
Wow! Nothing like starting a series by calling the opponents a bunch of cheaters and flop artists! Is he trying to get the officials to pay attention to something? What’s Vogel’s motive here? I’m sure this will go over well in the HEAT locker room. Sure they have some guys who can flop, like Shane Battier. But they also have some guys who will make you eat your words, like Udonis Haslem.
“I think we’re embracing the challenge, we feel like we’re on one of the best teams in the league. We are not viewing this in any way, shape or form like a David-versus-Goliath type of meeting. We are not the underdog here.”
Ok, I can deal with that. Nobody wants to feel like an underdog or a David figure. You’re a good team. But….here’s how he followed it up:
“This is two heavyweights going toe-to-toe. That’s how we view this series. We feel like we’re one of the best teams.”
Sorry Coach, but you can’t call yourself a heavyweight until you do something. And making it out of the first round against a Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic doesn’t say much. You had a good record, but a heavyweight. As far as I am concerned, there’s only a few heavyweights in the NBA, and Indiana isn’t there yet. Not yet.
“We didn’t do this the easy way. It took time. But Larry Bird and (general manager) David Morway drafted well. We got (David) West. We got George Hill, Leandro (Barbosa) and Lou (Amundson) for almost nothing. We didn’t do this by signing a couple of superstars.”
We didn’t do this the easy way (meaning that Miami did it the easy way). Larry Bird and Morway drafted well (Miami doesn’t). We didn’t do this by signing a couple superstars (and obviously Miami did). What’s Hibbert saying? Is he saying Indiana declined to sign a LeBron James or Dwyane Wade? Or was no one interested in going there? Would Indiana have declined LeBron if he wanted to go to Indiana? Then would you have taken the “easy way?” Hibbert is throwing jabs at Miami that he has no right to throw. He didn’t construct these teams.
The Pacers are taking a different route to facing Miami – talking smack. The HEAT are 5-2 against Indiana since LeBron joined Miami. 2 of their 3 wins this season had Miami up 30+ in those games. And their lose? It came after a tough back to back out of Oklahoma City.
Indiana won’t be an easy match for Miami, but Indiana isn’t doing themselves any favors by talking at the HEAT.