They did it again. The Pacers beat the Miami Heat. At home. In another tough, physical game. And still without star forward Danny Granger.
And this time, the Heat knew what to expect. Head Coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters they watched film from their last meeting again on Friday morning.
“It was eye opening…similar to the game that you guys will be able to see, that we won’t be able to see, on Sunday.”
-Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra
A friend of mine (who knows basketball better than football) asked me what that meant. I told her I thought Spoelstra was comparing the Pacers to the Ravens, with their tough, physical defense. And the Heat to the 49ers, with their ability to make plays and score.
The Pacers did hold the Heat to 89 points. But they also scored 102. Paul George was still a force, as was Lance Stephenson. But this time, it was David West who stepped up in a big way and made things happen when the Pacers needed him to. Every time they needed him to. West finished the game with 30 points.
“He goes out there and he has that look in his eyes and it kind of carries over to everybody else like, ‘We’re not going to get beat tonight.’”
-Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
And they didn’t. They beat the Heat for 13 consecutive wins at home. In part, because they kept their composure. The younger, less experienced team was more mature. On the court. And off. That’s something that comes down from the top.
Pacers have mature locker room. No bragging or chest-pounding, just satisfaction and quiet confidence after beating Heat.
— Mark Montieth (@MarkMontieth) February 2, 2013
The fans…not so much. They took to Twitter in triumph and celebration. And Heat fans weren’t having it.
Pacers the February 1st NBA Champions.
— The Clever Miamian™ (@CleverMiamian) February 2, 2013
Guess what? It’s fun to beat the NBA Champions. Especially when they knocked your team out of the playoffs last season. They are a target. It goes with the territory. Deal.
Unless of course, they’re willing to relinquish that title.
I had yet to pick a team for the Super Bowl. Looks like I’m going with the Ravens. You know what they say, offense wins games…defense wins championships.