After last night's close-out victory, Miami Heat players were asked about the upcoming matchup against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals starting on Sunday. A reporter asked LeBron James why the Pacers had given the Heat problems during the regular season, despite the Heat's 3-1 record against them. LeBron himself seemed a little confused by the question and paused for a moment before answering.
I don't think they've given us too many problems, personally. We played some great ball against them. I think we gave them more problems than they gave us. It's going to be a great series, they're coached very well and they have a great inside-outside punch. They have an All-Star in (Roy) Hibbert, an All-Star in (David) West, an All-Star in (Danny) Granger. They have guys around them like George Hill, Paul George, Darren Collison...the list goes on. They got great guys that help what they do so it's going to be fun.
Dwyane Wade was asked about how the Heat match up with the Pacers team-oriented style as opposed to the one-man offensive show that was Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks.
I think Indiana plays a lot more in the post, more than the Knicks. Indiana does have an outside game as well but they do have those post guys that they can throw the ball down to. Granger can go in the post as well so they have three or four guys that go into the post and it can kind of become a power game at times. Danny can go also go out and shoot the three and run that kind of stuff. That's a very good team. It's a team that we know all season was going to get better and better from when we played them earlier in the year and they did.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also spoke about the Pacers' size in their frontcourt and whether that would pose matchup problems for the Heat.
They have a great inside-out attack and they have great balance. They can beat you in a lot of different ways -pick-and-roll basketball, post-up basketball. That size is something we certainly have to contend with. Regardless of who we play, we think our versatility is one of our major strengths so we'll play to that in the second round and we'll see what adjustments we have to take.
In other news, the Heat organization released a statement regarding the now-infamous Amar'e Stoudemire "extinguished" comment from announcer Michael Baiamonte when the Knicks big man fouled out late in the game.
Last night at our game, our PA Announcer had a momentary lapse of judgment and used a poor choice of words in describing Amar'e Stoudemire's fouling out of the game. This is not who we are as an organization or who he is as an announcer. Both the Miami HEAT and Michael Baiamonte apologize to Amar'e and the New York Knicks for the inappropriate choice of words.
A couple of days ago, SB Nation's Mike Prada crowned the San Antonio Spurs the favorites to win it all after an impressive regular season and first-round sweep of the Utah Jazz. Currently, the poll at the end of his post has a 75% approval rating that he's right. I wonder what you, the loyal Heat fan, has to say about that.
Also, the Heat are inviting fans to visit the Party City location at 3401 N. Miami Avenue, #126, Miami, FL 33127 from 12:00 to 2:00 PM and Duffy's Sports Grill at 3969 N.E. 163 Street, North Miami Beach, FL 33160 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM tomorrow, Friday May 11 in order to get your hands on those free White Hot Heat Fan Kits that has had Heat fans drooling since the organization started giving them away intermittently at the beginning of the postseason. These kits feature a watch, sunglasses, decals, stickers, a temporary tattoo, air freshener and more.
The festivities will include music, a White Hot HEAT "Conversion Booth" where fans enter and are then transformed into White Hot superstars, a contest with the most outrageously White Hot Crazy Fan winning two tickets to both Games 1 and 2 of the Second Round, and an opportunity to participate in the White Hot HEAT fan video, a Facebook initiative where White Hot fans are photographed holding up a sign proclaiming their love for the team. These clips will be used in a video montage that's run online and also part of the rotation on MiamiMediaMesh, the giant LED screen affixed to the front of the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Finally, the NBA has released the schedule for the first two games of the Heat-Pacers series:
Game 1 - Sun May 13, Indiana at Miami 3:30PM ABC
Game 2 - Tue May 15, Indiana at Miami 7:00PM TNT