“Whatever he’s trying, it is not working,” James said Tuesday before Game 5. “He’s said he’s not scared of LeBron, I want to let (James) know. I guess he’s doing it for his own psyche. It’s stupid.”
Granger got in James’ face in Game 2 and Game 3, in Game 2 after a post play and in Game 3 after a foul in transition. In Game 4, Granger stepped right into Dwyane Wade’s grill after Wade got fouled by Roy Hibbert under the hoop.
“I’m all for standing up for your guys, but certain things you just can’t keep doing,” Wade said. “My message to Granger was that you just can’t keep running up into people’s faces for altercations. We’re not fighting on this basketball court, so let’s not act like we’re going to fight. We can be physical and do all that, but certain things got to stop. Are you out here to play basketball or are you out here to be a tough guy?”
This has been strategic from the Indiana Pacers since the beginning of the series; they have been trying to out-muscle and intimidate the Miami Heat since the start, and it is mostly due to their physical play and Chris Bosh’s abscence that the Pacers are curently tied in the series. Lance Stephenson apologized earlier in the week for making the choke sign at LeBron after a missed free throw. LeBron, for one, understands that fighting on the court is not going to take his team any farther in the playoffs.
“Nobody is fighting on the basketball court. C’mon,” he said. “I’m not going to fight because I mean too much to our team and I can’t afford to be suspended for a game or do something stupid to get thrown out of a playoff game.”
The Pacers need to continue their aggressive tactics against the Heat for one reason, because they do not have the talent to run with them in a straight-up, straight-laced game. That would be playing to the Heat’s advantage; this is a determined Pacers team, and they are going to do everything in their power to win which includes roughing up the Heat and doing everything they can to intimidate them. But talent almost always wins out.