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Why Doesn’t LeBron James Consider The Pacers A Rival Of The Heat?

Submitted by on December 12, 2013 – 10:34 amOne Comment

Back in the day, the NBA was filled with heated rivalries. From the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers rivalry to the one involving the New York Knicks and the Miami Heat, those rivalries produced some of the best games and playoff series in NBA history. But these days, there aren’t as many rivalries as there used to be. In fact, LeBron James doesn’t think that there are any rivalries in today’s NBA. He said so after the Heat lost to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night—a matchup that many people consider a rivalry today because the Heat and Pacers are the two best teams in the Eastern Conference and have met in the playoffs the last two seasons.

“It’s just the truth,” James told reporters. “I’ve thought about it. There is no rivalries [in the NBA]. It’s the truth. No rivalries. Cowboys-Redskins is a rivalry. Ohio State-Michigan is a rivalry. Duke-Carolina is a rivalry. Bears-Packers is a rivalry…There is no NBA rivalry. You see someone year, year, year, and year after year and you guys battle it out, that’s when it becomes a rivalry.”

Isn’t that exactly what the Heat and Pacers are staring to do, though? And more specifically, isn’t that what both teams are going to do for the foreseeable future, assuming they both keep their cores intact for at least a few more years? We sure think so. So we think that the Heat and Pacers have started a rivalry. It doesn’t have the long history that, say, the Lakers and Celtics rivalry has. It also hasn’t reached its peak yet, which will happen when the Pacers are finally able to knock off the Heat in the playoffs, assuming they’re able to do it. But what the Heat and Pacers have right now is a rivalry.

LeBron James and his teammates need to start honoring that rivalry, too. The Pacers are no longer just a good, young team with a lot of potential. They’re a team that has the talent and the desire to beat the Heat on their way to a title. And LeBron & Co. need to start respecting it. Otherwise, this might turn into a one-sided rivalry in the years to come.

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