Indiana Pacers push Miami Heat to brink in Game 7

Indiana-Pacers

Having exceeded everyone’s expectations of them except their own, having pushed the defending NBA champion Miami Heat to the precipice, the Indiana Pacers find themselves with a remarkable opportunity tonight at American Airlines Arena.

One win in Miami, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, for a trip to the franchise’s first NBA Finals since 2000.

It’s funny; the Pacers felt as if they shouldn’t have had much to prove and yet they did (as center Roy Hibbert elaborated in a post-Game 6 press conference that got him fined $75,000). Now, having knotted the Heat at three games apiece at the end of this semifinal series, the vibe is that this Pacers team has proven its mettle to the public. Indiana’s only remaining task is to prove to itself it can win tonight’s monumental matchup. [Read more…]

Indiana Pacers’ Lance Stephenson must be “Born Ready”

Indiana-Pacers

Lance Stephenson went by the nickname “Born Ready” as one of the nation’s top high-school basketball players and one of the most decorated New York prep products.

Often times, during his one year at Cincinnati and his first two seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Stephenson made folks wonder if the “Born Ready” tag was purely hype and little substance amid instances of immaturity and lack of production.

However, with Danny Granger sidelined for virtually the entire 2012-13 season with a knee injury, the 6-6 Stephenson capitalized on the opportunity at starter’s minutes, and he put a huge exclamation on his remarkable improvement last Saturday with a 25-point, 10-rebound effort (including a clutch nine-point fourth quarter) to lead the Pacers to a series-clinching Game 6 victory over the New York Knicks and a date with the Miami Heat in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals, which begin with today’s Game 1 at 8:30 p.m. in Miami.

That Game 6 performance suggested Stephenson indeed may have been “Born Ready.” The Pacers hope that’s the case regardless, but it very well might be key to their chances at defeating Miami and earning a trip to their first NBA Finals since 2000.

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Indiana Pacers open season without Danny Granger

The Indiana Pacers were hoping to enter the 2012-13 NBA season with improved depth after shaking up their roster considerably during the summer.

What depth they do have took a hit Tuesday and will be tested early and often.

Pacers forward Danny Granger has been dealing with pain in his left knee and will be out indefinitely, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. That leaves Indiana without its top scorer each of the past five seasons for now, starting with tonight’s season opener at Toronto.

How will the Pacers look to compensate for Granger’s loss, however long it might last?

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What the offseason might have in store for the Indiana Pacers

With the highly anticipated NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder now under way, a thought randomly popped into my head: It wasn’t very long ago that I was thinking the Pacers could conceivably be playing in this series.

That, of course, was when the Pacers had taken a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after trouncing the Heat 94-75 in Game 3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Miami then won the next three games, thanks in large part to superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade going off, and brought my expectations back down to Earth.

The Pacers boast a talented young roster, but it’s evident they don’t have that one player that can do what James and Wade can do — not yet, anyway. If that player isn’t already on the team, can Indiana find him this offseason? If so, who might he be?

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NBA Playoffs: Refs giving Miami ‘stars’ all (well most) of the calls

LeBron James

I don’t like to put anything on anyone or anything in particular, especially if that any one or thing has no business in deciding the outcome of a basketball game, but I think now everyone has the right to speculate on what is really going on between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. [Read more…]

Game 5 not a must-win for Indiana Pacers, but a win would be huge

With this NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal series tied at 2-2, several local news outlets who cover the Indiana Pacers say tonight’s Game 5 in Miami is a must-win for the team if it is to win the series and advance to the conference finals.

I don’t quite see it that way myself. I believe the Pacers are far more capable of winning a Game 7 in AmericanAirlines Arena than most want to say they are.

That said, winning tonight would be absolutely huge for Indiana, who then could close it out Thursday at home, writing another wonderful chapter in the comeback of pro basketball in Indianapolis and getting plenty of rest for the next round.

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Miami Heat panicking? Cancel practice, media session, Wade vs. Spoelstra (video)

spoelstra

Last night the Indiana Pacers treated the Miami Heat like Wall Street/the U.S. Government treats anyone who opposes Goldman Sachs- total obliteration. Indiana put on the whooping stick as the Heat trailed by as many as 21. Today, the fallout continues, as the Heat cancelled their media session and practice.

It’s circling the wagons time, as the presumptive favorite to win the NBA title, especially so after the Chicago Bulls utterly collapsed following the catastrophic injury to Derrick Rose, struggle massively. It’s only a 2-1 deficit, but they’ve lost home court and those who win game 3 win the series 82% of the time.

And now you have coach Erik Spoelstra and star player Dwanye Wade at each other’s throats. Watch the video below

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Indiana Pacers proving they’re elite, take 2-1 series lead over Miami Heat

They say small-market NBA teams who can’t attract superstars have to build slowly and economically.

Knowing that makes Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird’s being named 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year that much sweeter — in many ways, it’s representative of the job he’s done over a span of four years leading up to what his team did Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers thrashed the glitzy, superstar-laden Miami Heat 94-75 to take a 2-1 lead in the teams’ Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

And it was Bird’s blue-collar boys — particularly center Roy Hibbert (19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds Thursday) — that collectively have outshined the Heat’s superstars in this series.

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Second half of Game 2 could change outlook of series for Indiana Pacers

It was another third quarter.

Just one that meant so much more — monumentally more.

The Indiana Pacers, who have built quite a reputation for themselves as a third-quarter team during the 2011-12 season, used another strong effort in that period, and by extension in the second half, to escape AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday with a 78-75 win against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, evening the series at 1-1. The win broke the Heat’s streak of consecutive home playoff wins at 13.

The grit the Pacers displayed in churning out a powerful second half and a win gives them home-court advantage in the series beginning Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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It’s finally time: Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat in Eastern Conference Semifinals

This time three years ago, the Indiana Pacers had fallen so far out of the public eye, both nationally and in their own city, there was talk the franchise might soon be on the move.

Now, they’re about to be as relevant in sports nation as they can be — they’re playing a playoff series against the most polarizing team in the NBA — and maybe in American sports.

Fresh off a 4-1 opening-round victory against the Orlando Magic in which the Pacers gained back much of the lost connection with local fans, they carry the momentum of their first playoff series win in seven years into an Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup with the second-seeded Miami Heat.

Does Indy stand a chance?

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NBA Eastern Conference playoff preview: Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

The NBA playoffs are here.

Dwight Howard is not.

With the All-Star center on the shelf for the remainder of 2011-12 with a back injury (and potentially done in Orlando), the Indiana Pacers, who hold the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 42-24 record, are clear favorites to advance to the conference semifinals in getting past the Magic.

Here’s a quick preview as Game 1 gets set to tip off just after 7 p.m. today at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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NBA Playoff Predictions: Who wins it all?

Kevin Durant and LeBron James

The regular season is over and it’s time to make that money. Can LeBron James finally capture his first NBA championship? Do the Lakers have enough to compete in the West? What about the Griz? Spurs? How about the Bulls in East? Is D-Rose healthy? Check it out! In 1,000 words or less, I give my playoff predictions and pick the NBA champion. Let’s go!

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