For a game that was deemed ‘just another’ matchup by the Miami Heat players, tempers sure did fly. Chris Bosh picked up two early fouls while LeBron James got into foul trouble in the second half. James also had strong words for Mario Chalmers following a blown assignment. Putting that all aside the Heat clamped down on defense and despite numerous turnovers were able to execute their offense en route to a huge win in what many dubbed a ‘statement game’ that the Indiana Pacers needed.
What the Pacers likely earned Wednesday night in their game with Miami, was more respect league wide–even in defeat. Indiana has stormed out to an impressive 20-5 record while easily picking off marquee teams left and right. As a result Indiana is in position to lock up home-court advantage come playoff time. If the Heat–Indiana’s only true hurdle in the East–have one flaw, it’s their obvious lack of a quality big man. Even though he was limited by fouls, Roy Hibbert looks like a beast among boys when he plays Miami. The three-headed monster of Paul George, George Hill and Lance Stephenson create headaches for every defense in the league. This team will soon get Danny Granger back. It’s a complete roster in every way with everyone healthy and you have to figure this core will be together for years to come, the same cannot be said for Miami.
The Pacers don’t have any rings, which is something Heat fans love to troll Indiana with every chance they get. In comparison, every chance Indiana gets, they reminds us that once upon a time they came within one win of the NBA Finals. This year the Pacers are the leaders in the clubhouse and that’s no slight to Miami because they are steps behind in the standings. But a statement game? Please.
In the end this game has zero bearing on what happens next. Indiana already took care of business with a win at home against the Heat a week ago. LeBron James isn’t declaring himself a free agent as a result of the loss. This whole statement game business is nonsense. If writers and fans wanted a statement game then they definitely got one. However, the point had already been made with facts we already knew.