What Miami Heat fans want, they do not get. Why? Because the universe only knows how to make the defending champs do things the hard way. That’s the way it went when the NBA was in its heyday and it is only right that the standards stay the same for a team looking to three-peat.
As ESPN’s Michael Wallace pointed out, a Washington Wizards win would have given Miami two extra days rest and a Game 7 win would have granted the Heat home court in the Eastern Conference Finals. Instead the Indiana Pacers get the two things that they pled for all year — a post season date with the Heatles and a final game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse if the series goes the distance.
However, the home court may not be all that it is cracked up to be. After all, this is the same advantage that has been pretty useless to Indiana throughout the playoffs. Their fans have booed them relentlessly and they barely mustered up three out of seven wins in front of them. But things change when the Heat and Pacers collide.
Indiana plays down to the competition against the 29 other teams in the league and they get killed for it. Sports shows ridicule them and news articles tell jokes about how Roy Hibbert and Paul George wilt under the pressure. But they continue to regroup. Especially when they see Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
So home court won’t matter, because both teams proved that they can win in each other’s buildings. In other words if either squad puts their guard down, it’s lights out on a Finals appearance.