The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat don't tip-off the NBA Eastern Conference Finals until Wednesday. So until then, it's just practice and talk in Indianapolis and Miami. Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and Heat forward Lebron James already took exception to comments from Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel.
"It's exciting, but this is not about getting back at Miami," said Vogel Saturday night after the Pacers advanced in the playoffs over the New York Knicks. "If you're in the Final Four, you're competing for a championship. And they're just the next team that's in our way. That's how we're approaching it."
But a Miami reporter misquoted Vogel when interviewing James on Sunday. He told James that Vogel called the Heat "just another team".
"We're not just another team," responded James on Sunday. "I don't understand what he's saying. But we're not just another team. That's not true. He said we're just another team in their way. We're a great team. If we're just another team, you really don't prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us."
The Pacers did not want to escalate any trash talk after practice Monday.
"I can care less," said Pacers center Roy Hibbert Monday after practice. "Whatever. We're just going to play our game."
"It's going to be about substance," said Vogel Monday. "This series has plenty to offer without all the hard fouls you're seeing on TV and trash talking."
The Pacers won the regular season series 2-1, with the home team winning every game.
"We have respect for them," James added on Monday in Miami. "It's our next opponent. We're looking forward to the matchup. They're here for a reason.
The Pacers surrendered a 2-1 series lead to the Heat in the conference semifinals last year. Miami won three straight games to win the series in six games.
"It'll be a good series," said Pacers forward Paul George, who will guard James most of the series. "We remember what happened last year. That's always going to be on our mind facing this team."
Here is the Eastern Conference Finals schedule:
Game 1: Pacers at Heat, Wednesday, May 22, 8:30 pm TNT
Game 2: Pacers at Heat, Wednesday, May 24, 8:30 pm TNT
Game 3: Heat at Pacers, Sunday, May 26, 8:30 pm TNT
Game 4: Heat at Pacers, Tuesday, May 28, 8:30 pm TNT
Game 5: Pacers at Heat, Thursday, May 30, 8:30 pm TNT*
Game 6: Heat at Pacers, Saturday, June 1, 8:30 pm TNT*
Game 7: Pacers at Heat, Monday, June 3, 8:30 pm TNT*
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