Let the hype begin!
The Indiana Pacers tuned up for their Sunday game against the Miami Heat by, well, tuning up the Orlando Magic with a vicious defensive display and eventually enough offense to roll to a 29-point win with the help of 50 points off the bench. The bench production included 18 points from Tyler Hansbrough and 14 from D.J. Augustin. Seriously, half of that output on a regular basis would be huge. Oh, well, enjoy it when you can.
Meanwhile, the Heat rallied from a halftime deficit at home to run past the Philadelphia 76ers to win their 17th consecutive game. Miami's current win streak dates back to their last loss on Feb. 1 against...the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers will try to end that winning streak where it started although on the road this time. The Pacers will also be trying to sweep the season series between the two Eastern Conference foes. The Heat are well aware of those past two losses and aren't shying away from expressing their focus on trying to take down the Pacers, regardless of their attempt to post the league's longest winning streak of the season.
LeBron James talked tough heading into the games in Indy, but the Pacers didn't cower to his bark and instead drilled the Heat. As Michael Wallace reports following last night's game, the Heat are done with mind games with the Pacers and are focusing on beating them on the court. Here are a few quotes.
Chris Bosh on Sunday's game:
"It was already more than just a game, after the first two (losses)," Heat center Chris Bosh said of the Pacers. "After they beat us pretty good, them and New York, we've had these days circled for some time. So forget about the winning streak. You can take that away. If we lost a few in a row, we'd still be ready for Sunday."
Eric Spoelestra on the team turning to Sunday's matchup:
"I won't share the extent of the conversation we had as a team, but we're all aware that they absolutely pounded us, beat us up," Spoelstra said of the first two meetings this season with Indiana. "What else do you want to say? Each game is its own challenge, but this is one that everybody gets what they want Sunday. Fans get a game they think is compelling. Indiana wants to play us and compete against us, and we want to compete against them."
Check out the whole thing for more thoughts on the game from Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Clear your Sunday afternoon and evening folks. IU and Michigan at 4 p.m. with Pacers and Heat to follow at 6 p.m. which seems like a good excuse to get the game thread up early.
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