The Herald Bulletin

December 11, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Pacers need wins not statements

The Herald Bulletin

---- — It was with a great deal of enthusiasm I watched the Indiana Pacers comeback and defeat the Miami Heat on Tuesday night after getting home from work.

Then with a bit less enthusiasm I watched the television talking heads decipher what the game meant to each team. The general consensus was that the game was more important to the Pacers than the Heat.

Sometimes these commentators get so wrapped up in trying to say something dramatic or something different than the other talking heads that they completely miss the obvious.

Tuesday night's game was of the exact same importance to both teams. Both teams are goping to make the playoffs. The only question is where will they be seeded. There can be no disagreement on those two points.

So the game was equally important for mathematical reasons. If the Heat had won, they would be just one game behind the Pacers in the chase to have the best record in the Eastern Conference. But since the good guys won instead, they are now three games ahead of the villains in this passion play.

On Wednesday, when the two teams meet again in what some affectionately call South Beach, the game might be a bit more important to the Heat, but if that's the case it will only be because a loss would put Miami two games further behind Indiana than if they won.

Much analysis was wasted on the psychological impact of a win for the Pacers and the loss for the Heat. Poppycock!

There is nothing that will convince me that Indiana is any more or less likely to defeat Miami later this season or in the playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse because it won Tuesday's game. If you think the Heat are less confident they can win in that building this year now than they were on Tuesday afternoon, you are mistaken.

These are accomplished pro athletes playing on these two teams and they play with confidence (well perhaps not the Knicks or the Nets, but you get my drift) each time the ball goes up at center court with the score 0-0.

I do believe most NBA teams have a better chance to win at home than on the road. That's the reason every team would like the top seed. That means in any series, the opposing teams will need to win one or more games in the top seeded team's house to win the series.

The Pacers are still unbeaten at home. They likely are going to lose for the first time at Bankers Life sometime this season. I trust it won't be on Friday when Indiana plays Charlotte, a sub .500 team as of this writing.

The thing that will improve Indiana's chances of finishing with the No. 1 seed is getting a healthy Danny Granger back, not statement wins.