What if Miami is throwing all the games against us to lull us into a false sense of security? Maybe we should do some reverse psychology and lay down for this one.
Play to win.
We have plenty of things to work on and get tightened up before seeing them in the playoffs is a possibility. Use this game to focus on those things and grade yourself on where you stand against the team that is clearly the standard. Say what you want about LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Spoelstra and the Heat, but when it comes down to it, they're clearly the number one team in the East again, and anyone that wants to challenge that is going to have a tough time doing it.
Games like last night's Bulls game need to be eliminated. No more sloppy play, mental lapses, or poor effort nights. If we want to knock them off their perch, every game from now until the end of our season needs to be treated as if it were game 7 against them, then judged afterwards as a success or failure, and used to improve immediately. It's looking like Miami will hold onto that number one seed, and we'll probably hang onto the second. The division is ours. The focus needs to shift to making the changes that will win playoff games.
The OP is right that a loss would not be the worst thing in the world. Maybe we go back to being a little more under the radar, but we know where we stand. A loss would show us what needs to improve. Who is the coach that said there's more to learn from losing than there is from winning?
That said, losing is unacceptable. At least, that's the attitude this team needs to assume for the balance of the year and into the playoffs.
I was thinking a win might be more like "Pacers barely escape banged up Heat".
All I want to see is an epic beat down of biblical proportions. I want this team to prove that the Heat are incapable of playing with them.
It'll play big in the media, but...
If Miami wins, we still have the season series, and is the Pacers' sense of confidence against the Heat really going to evaporate because the Heat managed one home win, when they have split the last 8 against them? I doubt it.
If Indiana wins, Miami is still the champion, and they have the example of Chicago a few years ago to refer to. I don't think they'll see it as more than a game to get ready for a tough playoff series against the Pacers.
So I don't know that this game is going to mean much come May unless the Pacers make a remarkable rally for first in the east.
If we're the bookends of their winning streak, it'll be what 17 by then, I guarantee it's a MASSIVE deal in the national media. ESPN especially. It doesn't actually mean much, other than hey the Pacers are pretty damn good, but if (IF!) it happens I'd put money on ESPN pushing the "Indiana's the only team that can take Miami" narrative really hard, it's what they do.
If we're the end to their streak I don't know if I'll be able to contain myself at the Arena. Might walk out of there talking some trash :)
I think this game will be so much bigger for Miami, assuming both teams take care of business this week. If Indy ends that streak, considering the press Indy has been getting lately about being the team to beat Miami in the playoffs and based on the fact that Indy has beaten them twice already this season... A loss to Indy would really make this streak meaningless aside from the standings.
If Indy stops this streak, the talk will be like " Yah they had a long, dominate streak, but do we really know any more about them now than we do before the streak? ", because it will be the same story. Indy can beat the Heat in the playoffs, they have major matchups in there favor ect.
And being that this is such a huge game for the Heat, i'm expecting Lebron x 1000. I'm worried.
The bottom line is this...
The Heat are playing their best basketball in franchise HISTORY, right now... Lebron, is playing the best basketball in his LIFE, right now...
As it stands, the media projects us to be the only team in the East that can stop them. Which, given that they get the hype advantage and the Defending Champ Advantage, while we hold an undefeated season series advantage over them as well as a "doubt" in their mind advantage, makes us really, DEAD EVEN...
If they win Sunday, then I believe that gives them an edge as the favorites to come out of the East... and that's it...
But, if we win? Giving the Heat bookend losses to their streak, and still holding an undefeated season record, as well as, "undeniably serious doubt" advantage? That makes US the prohibitive favorites to come out of the East... Mark my word, IF we win, that will be the story on Monday...
If the Heat keep their win streak alive, how does this game not get picked up nationally!? The last loss by the Heat would be to the consensus East road block Pacers. You have great basketball, techs, bad blood and drama.
I know it's in between the ABC and ESPN games, but you would think they would figure something out.
Ha, I wish NBC picked it up somehow.
While I am very interested to see what happens in this game. I am not going to overeact to the outcome no matter what it is. But I will be watching veyt closely the matchups and what the Heat try to do against us.
But if the Heat win by 20, I won't panic and if the Pacers win by 20, I won't get all excited. Playoffs are different
The Heat are heading into the playoffs with a full head of steam right now, so a win against them would be a nice speed bump to maybe get them to rethink their gameplan.
If the Pacers break the streak, the story will be about how the Heat were satisfied with their franchise record and are not taking anything seriously until the playoffs now.
If the Heat continue the streak, no one will mention the Pacers at all - it will just be another win for the juggernaut.
If Indiana beats Miami, everyone will be talking about Indiana. Especially if they beat Boston and Orlando before then. I think that would be 15 out of the last 18 wins.
If we win, Skip Bayless will put the media in their place.
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We will end the streak
It's on NBATV