In an interview prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel called the Miami Heat the “biggest floppers in the game.” It may have seemed that Vogel took the first shot at the defending Eastern Conference champions, but in fact, he was just letting the referees know what to look for.
“It’ll be very interesting to see how the referees officiate the series, and how much flopping they reward,” Vogel said, in an interview earlier this week. “Often times they are falling down even before contact is even being made. It will be interesting to see how the series is being officiated.”
LeBron James was just announced as the NBA MVP for a third time in four years. That title puts James in rarefied air, but that title doesn’t come without a little officiating assistance. James is a a physical monster, a point guard with a power forward frame, that is nearly un-guardable when he is charging down the lane. On top of that, like Indiana Pacers Hall-of-Fame guard Reggie Miller, LeBron James knows how to get calls. LeBron uses his size and his stature to get attention from the refs and to draw contact on nearly every play in the paint.
Vogel wasn’t trying to rock the boat or to wake a sleeping giant. Vogel was just being honest, and attempting to let the officials know that he (and the rest of the NBA) will be closely watching how this series is called. The Heat are heavily favored, and Indiana will need every advantage they can get.