The Indiana Pacers picked up another game on the Miami Heat in the race for the top spot in the East which was the most important take away from the Pacers win on Tuesday night. But even the importance of one game in December isn't enough to get too excited about in the big picture.
What is exciting is how the Pacers stepped up to the challenge of beating the Heat after a rough start and far too many turnovers from reliable sources (13 alone from David West and Paul George). The Heat were without some of their supporting cast and the effort LeBron James had to exert in the first half appeared to wear him out for winning time.
Add LBJ to the list of opponents the Pacers have run into the ground and then run past in the second half for a win. But as David West likes to say, it was just one win. The subdued locker room following the game also made one thing clear -- this team is over making statements.
They enjoy the challenge of winning each game and finding the motivation to do so, but they are doing so to impress themselves, not anyone else. Nothing will change that until they can get to those games in the playoffs that matter most to their goal of winning the East and then taking the NBA Finals.
As Paul George mentioned, until the Pacers get past the Heat in the playoffs there is really nothing to celebrate. They certainly have moved past the point of trying to earn respect or caring whether or not their actions ruffle the feathers of opponents. They don't care, no matter how hard some in the Miami or national media try to make a story out of quotes from Paul George or Lance Stephenson or Frank Vogel.
"I think 'statement' wins are for you guys to write about and not for me to talk about." Vogel said after the game.
The win sets up a fun rematch next week in Miami which should be plenty spirited once again and likely a lot different. The Heat could have Michael Beasely off the bench and may employ Udonis Haslem who always seems to give the Pacers problems when you least expect it. Of course, the Pacers could have Danny Granger available off the bench, as well.
So last night, the Pacers physically overwhelmed the Heat but this matchup will continue to evolve as we head toward the playoffs. And it will be a blast to follow each step of the way.
Oh, and after putting down LeBron and the Heat, PG went back on the court to battle Justin Timberlake in a game of PIG. Pretty good night at the Fieldhouse, indeed.
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