ANDERSON — For the past 36 hours, the NBA universe has been buzzing about the decision made by Indiana Pacers' coach Frank Vogel to rest all of his starting five Wednesday in Milwaukee.
On Thursday, long-time Indiana coach and broadcaster Bobby Leonard was at Hoosier Park to do a meet and greet with fans. He had a historical perspective on Vogel's decision.
"When I was coaching (the Pacers in the ABA) we had a big lead in the East," said Leonard. "I think we were about 16 games ahead. So I rested half my starters in one game and then the other half in the next."
So he agrees with the decision?
"I think it was a good move," said Leonard. "I think was something (team president) Larry (Bird) wanted as well. It was a great win. I was so happy for (Chris) Copeland that he made that (game-winning) shot."
The move turned out to be successful beyond resting the starters and getting the win. Miami also lost to Memphis on Wednesday, moving Indiana a half-game ahead of the Heat for the top seed in the East. The Heat and Pacers play tonight in Miami.
But what if the move had resulted in a loss and the Heat would have won? Leonard had a history lesson up his sleeve for that possibility as well.
"We (Pacers) won (the deciding game in) three ABA championships on the road," said Leonard. "We won the first one in Los Angeles, the second in New York and the third in Kentucky. I never thought that in the playoffs, the home court was that big a deal. If you can't win on the road, you're not very good."
Yet tonight's game in Miami may really have ramifications beyond which team finishes with the best record.