It’s a storyline that NBA experts and critics have been writing ever since the “Hollywood” Heat sent the “blue-collar” team from Indianapolis packing on an extended South Beach vacation.
If you let them tell it, last year’s Eastern Conference Finals were just a build up to the Pacers’ eventual takeover. And the pundits predict that dominating their four-game romp would go a long way in proving that. However, history has shown that regular season statements have not meant much to the defending champs.
And the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman took to the paper to break things down even further:
“In 2010-11, 1-3 against the Boston Celtics during the regular season turned into 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. And 0-3 against the Chicago Bulls that regular season turned into 4-1 in the Eastern Conference finals… Similarly 1-3 against the Celtics in the 2011-12 regular season was reversed to 4-3 in the Eastern Conference finals… And last season, 2-2 against the Bulls and 1-2 against the Pacers during the regular turned into series victories in the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals, respectively…”
Despite Miami’s confidence and ability to brush off the importance of these games, their actions have been quit contradictory. They could barely even get LeBron James off of the court in the second half of last Tuesday’s Pacers game for a breather. That seems like a bit much for playing against a “non-rival” in a game that does not matter much.
Why would they do that? Because the Heat know that this matchup is critical. After all, there’s still no better media story than the team losing right before the main guys opt for free agency.
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