According to ESPN's Michael Wallace, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said the Heat is "just the next team" in the way of Indiana's run to a championship during his postgame press conference Saturday after the Pacers' victory over the New York Knicks.
Vogel's comment didn't sit well with LeBron James and he let reporters know how he felt after the Heat's practice Sunday.
"We're not just another team," James told reporters. "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."
It should be noted that Vogel's full quote was not presented to James according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
"Oh, it's exciting," Vogel said. "But this is not about getting back at Miami. You're in the final four, you're competing for a championship, you're competing for a championship. And they're just the next team that's in our way. And that's how we're approaching it."
Regardless of whether the quote may have been taken out of context, Vogel isn't exactly the most popular person in the eyes of the Heat or its fans. Last year during the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, Vogel was fined $15,000 for saying the Heat was "the biggest flopping team in the NBA."
His comments were only the prelude to what turned out to be a very physical matchup between both teams and included suspensions to Udonis Haslem and former Heat center Dexter Pittman in Game 6.
The Pacers won the season series 2-1 with both wins by double figures in Indiana. After a February 1st loss at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Miami then went on their historic 27-game winning streak, including a victory against Indiana at home on March 10th.
When the series starts on Wednesday, the Heat would have had six days off, one day less than their layoff after their first-round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks and look to avoid having the same sluggish start that they had against the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of that series.
According to James, he is expecting a similar type of series against Indiana as last year, especially now that a trip to the NBA Finals is within sight.
"We're ready for whatever," James said. "I believe it's going to be like last series. They're going to try to put me on the floor, maybe. Be physical with me, maybe. I don't know. Every team kind of does the same thing. They kind of read what everyone else talks about [and say], 'You have to beat up the Heat to beat them.' We'll see what happens."