The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

May 19, 2013

Pacers, Heat start bracing to square off again

MIAMI — A year ago when Miami and Indiana faced off in the postseason, there were blood-drawing hits, flagrant fouls, technical fouls, choke signs being directed toward LeBron James and more than a few sharp-tongued comments.

Here they possibly go again, at least on the comment front.

The Eastern Conference finals between the Heat and Pacers won’t begin until Wednesday night, but there’s already signs that the animosity present throughout last season’s Miami-Indiana second-round series will likely return this time around. The first flare-up appeared to arrive Saturday night, when Pacers coach Frank Vogel called the reigning champion Heat “just the next team that’s in our way.”

Predictably, the Heat didn’t seem to take that as flattery.

“We’re a great team,” said James, the Heat forward who won the NBA’s MVP award for the fourth time this season. “We’re very confident. We’ll be ready for them. If we’re just another team, you don’t prepare, you really don’t prepare for just another team. We’re not just another team. You have to prepare for us.”

And away they go.

Pushing, shoving, a few extra words, that’s all typical extra-curricular activity in playoff basketball. With Heat-Pacers last season, there seemed to be more. Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem were bloodied at times. Haslem targeted Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough in what was perceived as retaliation for a foul against Wade. And Lance Stephenson — who made the “choke” sign after James missed a free throw in a Game 3 loss — was leveled by now-former Miami reserve Dexter Pittman in a particularly memorable end to a blowout Heat win in Game 5.

“We don’t need bulletin-board material,” James said.

The Heat took the rare step of practicing on their game court Sunday instead of inside their gym located upstairs, and coach Erik Spoelstra called it a “training camp” workout. And this statistic — Pacers 2, Heat 1 — surely will keep Miami from believing a third straight finals trip is an inevitability, since not only was that the lead Indiana held in last season’s playoff series, it also represents the win totals from this year’s three matchups between the clubs.

“If we’re the same team that we were last year, that won’t be good enough,” Spoelstra said. “Period. Fact. That’s why we’ve spent so much time this year trying to develop habits to improve. We don’t feel we’re the same team that played the Indiana Pacers last year.”

Of course, the Pacers feel the same way.

Indiana took Sunday off after the grind of a six-game second-round series against the New York Knicks ended and is expected to start its Heat-centric workouts today in Indianapolis before flying to Miami on Tuesday.

“We were up 2-1 last year,” Pacers forward David West said. “We dropped the ball.”

When Indiana beat the Knicks and finished off that series Saturday night, Vogel and his players were standing in the center of their locker room a few moments after the final buzzer, many of them cheering and applauding.

“I believe we’re just getting warmed up,” Vogel told them.

A few minutes later, flanked by his two daughters in a postgame interview, Vogel talked about the Pacers getting one step further — at least — in this year’s playoffs than they did a year ago.

“Every team that’s on a championship journey takes steps each year, take it a step further than they were the year before,” Vogel said. “We were a first-round elimination team two years ago against the Bulls. Made it to the second round last year, got knocked out by Miami. Just proud of the yearlong effort to take that next step.”

Not long afterward, he was asked about playing the Heat again.

“This is not about getting back at Miami,” Vogel said. “If you’re in the final four, you’re competing for a championship. You’re competing for a championship. And they’re just the next team that’s in our way.”

His last line was duly noticed by the Heat, who bristled at his claim last season that Miami has the biggest collection of call-drawing floppers in the NBA, one that got Vogel fined by the league.

“It’s always good to get some motivation from the other side,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said.

Wade said he expected to see Indiana find its way to the East finals.

“We know this is a good team,” Wade said. “This team right here, they’re in the Eastern Conference finals for a reason. I expected to see them here. And I think it’s only right that we see them in the Eastern Conference finals after the series we had last year.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Marauders edge Tribe, Arabians at PH Invite Less than a week after a close win in the Madison County track meet, the Pendleton Heights boys played host to the 59th annual Pendleton Heights Invitational on Thursday night. Anderson returned to defend its 2013 title, and the host Arabians had not won the event since 2007. In the end, Mt. Vernon spoiled the night, scoring valuable points late to overtake the Indians and win the event 133-127 over Anderson.

    April 24, 2014

  • Arabians rally to topple Tribe in the eighth Thursday night's regular season game at Bill Stoudt Field lacked the artistry of Saturday's Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament final at Memorial Field. But the rivalry rematch between Pendleton Heights and Anderson retained all of its drama. The Arabians (8-4) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Indians 10-9 and run their winning streak to seven games.

    April 24, 2014

  • SPT - HB0425 - Shenandoah v Frankton Edited 6 Eagles hold off Raiders rally Frankton flew out to a big lead, only to have Shenandoah battle back on the softball diamond. But, the Eagles were fend off the Raiders for a 10-8 victory.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Angie Colip: Busy bowling season coming to an end The fall bowling season is definitely coming to an end. Spring is upon us. Winter coats have been traded in for spring jackets, the temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and the days are becoming longer. These are all signs that our bowling seasons are winding down.

    April 24, 2014

  • SPT - HB0121 - Luck photo Luck, Colts to open season against Manning's Broncos

    The Indianapolis Colts will open the 2014 regular season at AFC champion Denver in a Sunday night showdown pitting quarterback Peyton Manning against his former team.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0424 - Frankton vs AHS - 048 Frankton hits early, often in win over Anderson Frankton pounded out 11 hits in handing Anderson its second softball loss in as many nights.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0424 - Alex v MG 3 Argylls hold on to top Tigers Pitching and defense win games, especially in girls high school softball and it was on display here Wednesday evening as the Madison-Grant Lady Argylls picked up a 4-1 Central Indiana Conference win over the host Lady Tigers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indians come up short against Tigers in golf The Anderson Indians came up short against Yorktown 147-170 on Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Reggie photo for online notebook Colts notebook: Few doubts about Wayne in locker room If there are outside doubts about whether Reggie Wayne can return to form because of his age and the severity of his injury, few are shared inside the Indianapolis Colts' locker room.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0424 - Mathis armor Mathis' leadership paying off for Colts An authentic set of battle armor greeted visitors to Robert Mathis' locker Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. The black-and-gold helmet and chest plate look more at home in one of the "300" movies, but they are the proud possessions of the NFL's reigning sacks champion thanks to the generosity of Daniel Adongo and Bjoern Werner.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

Latest Sports Photos


Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin

AP Video