Are The Indiana Pacers A Legitimate Threat To The Miami Heat This Season?
As of right now, the Miami Heat are still the favorites to win the 2014 NBA Finals. And why shouldn’t they be? The Heat have added players like Michael Beasley and Greg Oden to a roster that was already plenty strong. And anytime you have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on your roster, you have to be the favorite to win the championship. But let’s not crown the Heat the champs of this new season just yet. Because while they are the favorites, they’re going to face a lot of competition in the Eastern Conference from teams like the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets this season. But their biggest challenge yet might just come from the Indiana Pacers.
Now, the fact that the Pacers should be viewed as a legitimate threat to the Heat shouldn’t come as any big surprise. After all, Indiana did take Miami to seven games in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. But the Pacers are no longer just a young, scrappy team throwing rocks at the throne and doing what they can to make noise in the crowded Eastern Conference. They are now a bonafide title contender with all of the pieces needed to win a championship. From Roy Hibbert in the post to Paul George on the perimeter—George could very well end up winning the MVP award this season—the Pacers are finally ready to take the next step and challenge the Heat for a championship. And their 5-0 record so far this season is evidence of that. They shouldn’t be crowned the champs simply for going 5-0. But already, they look like they have what it takes to contend for a title this year and knock the Heat off their pedestal.
“We just play hard,” Lance Stephenson said the other night after the Pacers beat the Bulls. “We feel that we going to bring it every night on the defensive end, offensive end, and we going to find a way to get that W.”
That kind of attitude and approach to the game is exactly what Indiana is going to need if they want to beat LeBron James & Co. They’re also going to have to continue to work on their team chemistry and fine tune some things on both sides of the ball (their point guard play continues to be their one slight weakness). But if they can do those things, the sky is the limit for this team, and we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them make some major moves when the playoffs roll round.
Do you think that the Pacers have what it takes to beat the Heat?