When the playoffs come around, there are those teams that you just don’t take seriously. I love Al Jefferson, but the Jazz have as good a chance at making a run as Brock Osweiler has at starting for the Broncos next season. And last year, the Pacers were one of those teams. They talked a lot, and Tyler Hansbrough pissed the Bulls off as much as he pisses off anybody who has to watch him play, but in the end their competitive play was nothing more than a team playing as hard as they could when faced with season-ending elimination. This year, things are different!
The Pacers play a Magic team ready to rollover without Dwight Howard. The Magic’s offense is centered around spacing the floor, creating open shot opportunities for their marksmen, but without Dwight the double-teams dwindle and J.J. Redick has to shoot with a hand in his face.
If Indiana can win a series that they should easily, they’ll face either the Heat or Knicks, it’d be an ironic series, really. The east coast metropolises with major superstars facing a cohesive but low-key unit stationed in a small city in the Midwest. Overlooked and underrated, the Pacers would go into the series an underdog to either team. Do you really believe that LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony take the Indiana Pacers seriously? After three victories in four games against each other, the Heat wouldn’t even leave LIV to watch game film on the team. If the Pacers are lucky, LeBron will let Paul George jump with fluorescent shoes to drink form his gigantic ace of spades bottle.
That being said, it’s this sort of arrogance thatt got the Heat in trouble last year. The clever jokesters that made fun of Dirk Nowitzki for being sick just can’t resist provoking opponents and audiences with general hateable behavior. The Heat and Knicks will be a great series, and Miami is in no way a lock, but either of these teams will have their hands full with the Pacers. It’s been a while since that kind of statement actually held weight.