The Washington Times-Herald

Local Sports

October 24, 2013

Pacers not Bulls are challengers to Heat

(Continued)

In 2011, Rose's last full season, the Pacers lost to the Bulls in five games in the first round, but it was evident the Pacers, led by coach Frank Vogel were on the rise. In 2012, the Pacers met the Heat in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Despite taking a 2-1 lead, the Heat steamrolled through the next three games to eliminate Indiana. Fast forward to last May. The Pacers gave the defending champion Heat all they could handle in the seven-game grudge match. Roy Hibbert played the best basketball of his life, David West manhandled Chris Bosh and any other front court player, Paul George showed why he's a future star and Lance Stephenson did his best to annoy LeBron James. The Heat won the series, but the entire league was put on notice that the Pacers are a real threat to win the 2014 championship.

Indiana picked up big man Luis Scola and welcome back former All-Star forward Danny Granger from an injury riddled 2012-13 season to bolster an already strong bench. The only discernable weakness is at point guard, where IUPUI graduate George Hill is a shooting guard masquerading as a point guard. The Pacers are coming hard for Miami, and the Heat know this. With every creak of Dwyane Wade's knee, the Heat become less feared. Yes, they still have LeBron James, but he can't win the NBA championship all by himself as last year illustrated. If not for a clutch Ray Allen 3-pointer, James would be sitting at 1-3 in four career NBA Finals, but he did make that, and here we are.

Indiana is the deepest team in the Eastern Conference, and the only true challenger to Miami for a spot in the NBA Finals. Chicago faces the same problem they did when Rose was healthy — who else will step up after the 2011 MVP. Rose can't do it alone, LeBron can take him out of his game with suffocating defense. Another challenger being mentioned is Brooklyn. The Nets added Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a trade with the Celtics to go along with All-Star point guard Deron Williams and rookie coach Jason Kidd. The Nets will finish no higher than fourth in the Eastern Conference and fall to Indiana or Miami in the second round of the playoffs. If we're lucky, we'll get to see Indiana or Miami against Chicago in the second round.

This year's Pacers have the best shot of anyone in the past three years to knock off the Heat. The only question is whether or not these Pacers have what it takes to knock off the three-time Eastern Conference champions four times in a seven game series. We're about to find out — the game's start Tuesday night.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Blu-chip 3 pic Blu-Chip takes over Complex The Washington Sports Complex played host to the 3rd Annual Blu-Chip 3v3 tournament, which is in memory of Zach Blubaum and Derek Arvin. The tourney was the largest of the three that have been played and helps to raise funds for the Derek Arvin Schol

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.Sometimes it could be as simple as a C-note handshake or a little cash slipped into a player’s socks outside his locker with a note telling him to

    July 25, 2014

  • Blu Chip ready for its third year Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but of course, that isn’t the case. Some tragedies are so severe that the healing process might never be complete, but rather a daily reminder of what has been lost. Whether it is a bumper sticker on a car, a funn

    July 25, 2014

  • Colts' 'monster' now preparing to 'hunt' ANDERSON — There’s a different kind of buzz surrounding the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare to report for training camp today at Anderson University.Expectations have been high inside the locker room since Chuck Pagano arrived in January 2012 and

    July 23, 2014

  • Sports Briefs WHS PhysicalsWashington High School athletic office would like to announce Physical Examinations for athletes will be held at Dr. Cullen’s office on Tuesday July 29, 9 am to 3 pm. All Washington athletes may use this service including High School, Ju

    July 23, 2014

  • SPT-WT-071914-ADAM GRABER PIC Barr-Reeve hands out Spring Awards MONTGOMERY — After the Fall and Winter sports seasons included a team reaching the state championship, Barr-Reeve’s final sport season had some catching up to do. Spring didn’t result in any state championship apperances, but it did see the Vikings c

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season There’s plenty to enjoy about the Southeastern Conference’s annual cattle call in Hoover, Ala., where media of every description join players and coaches from each of the league’s 14 football teams to discuss the coming season. The best aspect is tha

    July 18, 2014

  • MadiWebster Webster to compete at Gymnastics Championships LOUISVILLE — More than 1,600 of the nation’s top gymnasts in acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline/tumbling will be in Louisville, this week for the 2014 USA Gymnastics Championships. Madi Webster of Odon, who just placed third in

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zeller's Celtic games will air on WAMW Now that former Washington graduate Tyler Zeller is a Boston Celtic, his hometown radio station has changed NBA affiliations. DLC Media, Inc. the licensee of Radio Station WAMW-AM 1580 and 95.9 FM will broadcast several Boston Celtics games this seas

    July 15, 2014

  • SPT-WT-071214-AllStars02 Washington 12U falls to Evansville Golfmoor LOOGOOTEE — A terrific run for the Washington 12U All Stars came to a close at the hands of Southwestern Indiana Little League powerhouse Evansville Golfmoor 15-0 in the district finals at Loogootee on Friday.But the loss didn’t diminish the longest

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo