Don’t count them out yet!
After a game three loss at home, everyone began writing the closing lines on the Indiana Pacers’ storied season.
Great run. Respect. Overachieved.
That is…everyone, but the Indiana Pacers.
Instead, the Pacers did what they do and what they’ve been doing all season. They regrouped, refocused, rebounded…and retied the series.
In another gritty, physical, and grind-it-out win…the Pacers proved once again that they’re not ready for the offseason. Not even close. They have bigger plans, bigger dreams, and they’re not letting another* team like the Miami Heat get in the way.
James. Wade. Bosh. The big three were challenged all night by Hibbert, Hill, George, West, and Stephenson. A major concern for the Pacers throughout the series, and again in game four, was the lack of a closer. Someone who could step up in the final minutes…the final seconds. And score.
Enter Lance Stephenson. Born Ready.
Stephenson helped the Pacers win in so many ways. He did it with his body, with his physical toughness. He did it with his jump shot, sinking the clutch shots right when his team needed them most. And he did it with his mouth. His was in LeBron James’ ear all night long. He never shut up. And by the end of the game, he was in his head.
As the Indy Star’s Bob Kravitz reported, at one point, Stephenson (a mere knight) did the unthinkable… and dared King James to hit his shot.
“Make it. Make it. Make it.”
During the post game press conference, James refused to discuss the matchup with Stephenson, as if it was beneath him to do so. It wasn’t beneath him to discuss Stephenson with the officials though. During the game.
Out played. Out defended. Out toughed.
In short, the Heat got GoldSwaggered.
And yes, that is a verb (even though my spellcheck says otherwise).
It is now, anyway.
*By definition, the Miami Heat are indeed “another” NBA team. No offense was intended with this reference. Any offense resulting from the use of this word can be attributed to arrogance. Or insecurity. Or both. If you sustain this condition for more than four hours, please contact a doctor immediately.