Of course, both teams haven't shown much interest in seizing control of the East since they have both had an opportunity to put away the No. 1 seed for the better part of the month, yet each continues to keep losing at a comparable pace. As Reggie Miller is quoted in this NBA.com preview, the motivation for the top spot doesn't carry the normal urgency due to the standings in the East.
TNT's Reggie Miller knows this rivalry game from the inside out, having spent his entire Hall of Fame career with the Pacers. He knows the politically correct thing for all involved to say is that they want that No. 1 spot, but ...
"Both will say, ‘We want the No. 1 seed.' You always want Game 7 in your building, but when you're the two best teams, you can go on the road and actually get a win. If I'm Miami and I'm looking at the landscape of the Eastern Conference, you get by that first round, you're very well going to play either Chicago or Brooklyn, and Brooklyn has won four straight against Miami this year. I'm not quite sure you don't want to get that No. 2 spot and take a little bit road less traveled to the Eastern Conference finals."
So the silver lining for the loser tonight is clear, but for the Pacers playing well and doing so on the road is extremely important and should be a motivating factor to give Miami their best look. While the Pacers seem to be hurting psychologically, the Heat are hurting physically with Dwyane Wade still trying to return from the hammy he tweaked at BLF while Greg Oden has yet to seen a minute of playing time after Roy Hibbert sent him packing early in their last meeting. But, as I've often said, these teams would want to kill each other in a pickup game at the Baxter Y, so that fact will always make this a compelling matchup.
Also of note in the links, the Pacers agreed to a deal with Indy's Capital Improvement Board (CIB) which will provide the team with $160 million over the next ten years to help with various Fieldhouse maintenance and upgrades. Great news for those of us who love having the NBA in town.
Check out the links: