Having vanquished the New York Knicks and reached the Eastern Conference Finals, Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel was in full coach-speak and said the Miami Heat were just another team that’s in their way.
Naturally, reporters twisted up his words and presented them to LeBron James. The reigning MVP’s ears perked up and seemed to take offense to the suggestion that his defending champion Miami Heat were an ordinary opponent for the Pacers.
Per the Indy Star:
“It’s exciting, but this is not about getting back at Miami,” Vogel said as his two daughters sat on his lap. “If you’re in the final four you’re competing for a championship. And they’re just the next team that’s in our way. That’s how we’re approaching it.”
James took Vogel’s words to mean he was calling Miami just another team. “We’re not just another team,” James told Miami reporters on Sunday. “I don’t understand what he’s saying. But we’re not just another team. That’s not true. He said we’re just another team in their way. We’re a great team. If we’re just another team, you really don’t prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us.”
You may recall that Frank Vogel’s mouth got him in trouble last year when these two teams met in the Playoffs, costing the Pacers’ head coach $15,000 for calling Miami the biggest floppers in the NBA. The Heat, of course, then went on to win the series in six games.
We’ll have to wait until Wednesday night for this on-court battle to finally start, but the war of words in clearly well underway.