Kravitz: Pacers-Heat is a good talking point, but there's no statement to be made tonight
There will be the obvious and understandable temptation to turn Tuesday night's Pacers-Heat clash of the titans into some kind of "statement game'' for whoever wins the game.
If the Pacers win, it will be a statement that they are very much for real, that they're not going anywhere, that they still have Miami's number (to the extent anybody has Miami's number), that they are the new bullies on the block.
If the Heat win, it will be a statement that they are still the big dogs in the East and throughout the NBA, that they are sick and tired of hearing how great these Pacers are and want to restore the natural order of the basketball universe.
That would certainly make for the better column, because we're all about "grand statements'' in my biz.
While this is certainly more than one game out of 82, while this is the most intriguing game in the moribund Eastern Conference, there are no statements to be made here.
First of all, the Pacers have already shown they're very much for real, having just gone a very respectable 3-2 on the Road Trip From Hell, knocking off the Clippers and Spurs in the process. Eighteen-and-3 is no fluke. This team will win more than 60 games, as long as they can avoid injuries.
Second, this is the first game back from a long Western road trip, and history shows us that teams often fumble and stumble during their first game back from tough roadies, especially when they have to play two straight back-to-backs.
And let's be honest about the Heat: They're coasting at 16-5. They'll turn it on when they have to turn it on, just as they did during their long winning streak last year, just as they did in the playoffs. As great as the Pacers are playing, they don't have that fifth (or is it sixth?) gear the Heat possess. For all of the Pacers' excellence, they don't have a LeBron James, and when James and even Dwyane Wade are at the top of their games, nobody in the league can touch them.
A couple of months from now, these two teams will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals, and what happens here Tuesday night, and what happens when they play again in the regular season, won't mean squat.
This game will come down to the same things that Pacers-Heat games always come down to: If the Pacers can dominate the paint, as they always did in their victories over the Heat, they will win. If the Heat can compete in the paint and not get worn out on the offensive glass, they will win. There's not much mystery to this rivalry, never has been.
My guess is LeBron and Wade have heard just about enough about the Pacers' grand ascension and the whispers that there's a new sheriff in town, and my guess is the Heat will find a way to win this game.
And in the long run, it won't mean much.
As long as the Pacers can eventually earn homecourt advantage, get a potential Game 7 on their home floor, that's what matters.
I like Big Statements.
I don't see one being made Tuesday night.