Imagine yourself growing up as a child and watching the best of the best in wrestling letting out the most intriguing trash-talk that could every leave someone’s mouth. You knew that they never believed what they were saying, but every time they stepped in front of the camera it would be ridiculously entertaining. And that’s where the Indiana Pacers come in.
All season long they have been yapping about what they want and can do, as a team and as individuals. They wanted the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and they got it. They called out their coach (Roy Hibbert after Game 4), each other (Hibbert again) and the Miami Heat.
But things bubbled to the surface when Lance Stephenson tried to pry his way into LeBron James’ head with a “sign of weakness” comment that floundered just as bad as the choke sign he flashed in 2012. Then the absurdity turned worse when Paul George said this at the podium:
“Looking at the stat sheet, we outplayed them. I thought we outplayed them tonight.”
You would have thought that he heard his coach say that they were outplayed or got wind that David West urged the team to stop giving the champs bulletin board material. However he chose to keep things on the delusional side, as if Chris Bosh didn’t catch fire — on way to a rout — way before the Pacers forward even sniffed foul trouble.
Keep in mind George (24) was the same guy who sat at the postgame podium and criticized Stephenson (23) for being “young” and voicing his opinions, even though he had just voiced his. Then they wonder why people point out that no one on their team seems to like each other.
But before Heat fans start screaming “it’s over” like Kenny Smith at the 2000 slam dunk contest, they should realize that the Pacers are like roaches. Every time the media thinks they’re dead, they jump right back up and start fighting again.
Add that to the fact that there were a few minutes where the referees were calling phantom fouls like they refused to let Miami blow their 20-plus point lead and you know that winning one game won’t come as easy as it seems. Especially if that near fourth quarter collapse gave Indiana any confidence.
It would be the cost of their coasting fits.