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Paul George doesn’t think Heat can beat Pacers in playoffs without home court

Jan 17, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Five Getty Images

Can we just fast-forward ahead to the Pacers/Heat Eastern Conference Finals?

(I suppose something could derail that still, but let’s hope not. The fact is the drop off in the East is so severe after those two teams that if one of those top two teams gets knocked off for injuries or whatever reason the East playoffs become a coronation, not a contest.)

As of Jan. 17 the Pacers have a four-game lead over Miami for the best record in the East, which speaks to the focus the two teams have shown so far this season in trying to secure that top spot. Miami is fully capable of what they did last year, throwing up 27 straight wins and flying past Indy, but right now the Pacers want the home court and are focused on getting it.

Why? Because they don’t think the Heat can beat them in a Game 7 in Indianapolis. That’s what Paul George told Showtime’s Jim Rome, as transcribed by Ben Golliver at Sports Illustrated.

“We don’t,” George said. “I mean, we know how well we play at home. We’re one of the best teams in the postseason last year defending our home court. We just know how big home-court advantage is when it comes down to postseason. That’s one of our main goals this year is to lock up the first seed so we can have the opportunity to play at home throughout the whole playoffs.”

Miami is the two-time defending NBA champion and has done that with some big road wins, including Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals over the Pacers last season. They are capable of winning anywhere.

But Indiana stands a better chance of beating them at home — and the Pacers are focused on getting that advantage in a way the Heat are not.

  1. rodge1 - Jan 17, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    (yawn)

    • spthegr8 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      PG is 100% right. If they secure homecourt. The Heat are going fishing.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:26 PM

        Why would you think that is such a certainty? They destroyed the Bulls and the Thunder without homecourt. They beat the Celtics at home when they were down 3-2 in that series (essentially a game 7 on the road).

        If Miami has to win on the road, they will win on the road. I think they actually play better without homecourt, because they seem more focused and less likely to slack in early games. In other words, those series could’ve went 7 games last year BECAUSE Miami had home court advantage – they knew they could afford it.

      • ranfan12 - Jan 19, 2014 at 3:54 AM

        Oh my goodness. Common sense? I can’t believe it

  2. dexterismyhero - Jan 17, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    It will still come down to who is the healthiest in the post season.

  3. davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    It’s not like he’s talking smack; just answering a question the way most would. I think the more important factor — and disappointing as a Pacers’ fan — is that this sets up a scenario where it can be said they are not confident enough to win it without home court advantage. That said, the analogy I like most is the Bulls-Pistons 90-91. Chicago was four games back going into the ’90 playoffs and lost. They were eleven games up going into the ’91 playoffs…

    So I see home-court as more an indication of something, when it’s definitive. But limping into the post-season with the best record doesn’t mean much on its own.

    As far as fast forwarding to the post-season goes — and I assume you’re kind of kidding, Kurt (how’s that for alliteration?) — I know better than to wish the good times away. A lot of regular season wins are fun to watch. Otherwise, why bother?

  4. bucrightoff - Jan 17, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Miami is fully capable of what they did last year, throwing up 27 straight wins and flying past Indy
    ________________________________________________________________________________

    No, they really aren’t. This years Heat is even more flawed than last years. 3rd worst rebounding team in the NBA (no player averaging over 7 rebounds a game???), a Wade you can only count on playing 2 out of 3 games, and a still mediocre, old supporting cast. Miami has also played a weak schedule so far (3rd easiest in the NBA to date). The

    • bucrightoff - Jan 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      …Heat right now are as capable of anyone of going on a 7 game run. Possible, but highly unlikely. And when you consider circumstance, it seems very, very unlikely.

    • borderline1988 - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM

      It’s the weak teams that Miami is having trouble with. I think Miami has only lost 2 games to winning teams (or something like that). Miami has trouble being focused when playing the likes of Washington, Sacramento, Brooklyn, Philly, etc.

      To me, the success of Indiana is about Roy Hibbert. If he’s healthy and can stay on the court in the game’s crucial minutes, Indiana has probably a 50/50 chance of beating Miami. But if he gets in any sort of foul trouble (like the last Miami-Indiana game), the Pacers are toast.

      On the other hand, there are a lot more factors on the Miami side. If Miami is fully healthy (unlikely), I’d give them the edge. If Greg Oden (or possibly Bynum) can give Miami meaningful minutes, that would make a huge difference.

      Indiana can dominate the paint because of Hibbert and West. But Miami has better drivers and better shooters. If Miami can at the very least can lose the paint but not get totally dominated, I think they will win.

      • miamatt - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        On the money. Miami is 11-2 against +.500 teams, which is by far the best record league wide.

    • miamatt - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      How are they more flawed? When they are on point- which tends to happen against the best competition- the ball movement and offensive flow has never been better. We also get the same suffocating, turnover forcing defense that we’ve seen for years. Rebounding is a weakness, but that is nothing new.

      As far as Wade goes, he is on a maintenance schedule which is going according to plan. And how can you call out the supporting cast as old and mediocre? You mean like Birdman shooting something like 90% in the playoffs? You mean like Ray Allen nailing perhaps the most clutch shot in league history? Or Shane Battier draining six threes in game seven of the finals? Or Haslem killing the Pacers with baseline jumpers in multiple games of the ECF?
      Sign me up for that brand of old and mediocre any day.

      I’d have to give your trolling a 5 outta 10. It isn’t very entertaining, and your attempts at framing it as legitimate analysis are awfully weak.

  5. aboogy123456 - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    The Heat have lebron james who is a great player and last season the Pacers didn’t have an answer for him. Other than that, people need to realize that they aren’t that great of an all-time team. They are flawed and lebron doesn’t have much help. give credit to the champs, but the competition as a whole is pretty weak right now. The pacers really improved this season from last year so I’m hoping that’s enough to beat this overrated miami team.

  6. Big Ant TV - Jan 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    There’s no parity In then NBA anymore

    • bucrightoff - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      Newsflash: There really never has been parity in the NBA. There have been 10 different teams to win an NBA title in the last 35 years. The NFL meanwhile has that many in the last 15 years. The NBA is a star based league, thus, outside the rare OKC or San Antonio of the world, the NBA is dominated by the big market teams.

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Jan 17, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Miami is not considered a big market…hard to believe, but true

      • Jeff - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        Agreed, there’s never, never been any parity in the NBA.
        MLB, NHL and NFL all have more parity in their respective leagues than the NBA is or ever has been.

      • bucrightoff - Jan 18, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        Miami is only the 4th largest urban area in the US. Not a big market indeed…

  7. savvybynature - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    The Pacers have a shot, but it’s tough to beat an all-time great flopping team with defense The Heat imo are the best flopping team ever, with Lebron, Way of Wade and Battier leading the charge).
    Lance Stephenson and Paul George can check Wade and Lebron as well as anyone, but you know those two like to get “theatrical” when the games matter, and more often than not the refs give them the bogus calls.

    • savvybynature - Jan 17, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      How could you thumbs this down? Facts are facts whether you like them or not, just look at the tape from last season’s ECF.
      Also, it’s not called ‘Lebroning’ for no reason. When your flopping creates a viral video meme, you know you flop a lot.

  8. doctordunkenstein - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Funny how everyone says the Heat suck until you start talking about LBJ’s legacy…then its a “superteam”

    • aboogy123456 - Jan 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      nobody says the heat suck. It’s just that the nba doesn’t have that much competition right now. The 2000 blazers were a much better team but nobody will remember them because they never won the ship. I do think LBJ deserves the praise though because he’s the one carrying this team, and I think if he stayed on cleveland he would’ve still been able to win it all.

      • asimonetti88 - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        Man, those Blazers and Kings teams were stacked. You have to wonder what they could have done if they played in the East instead of the West. I feel like they would have a better crack at the Lakers in the NBA Finals as opposed to the West Playoffs.

  9. indrathegod - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    It seems that just because the Heat have a tendency to coast to a level no one has seen, people forget that at ANY time they can beat ANYONE. Tell me how many teams in this league can legitimately slack off sometimes in the span of 2-3 games and still maintain the second best record being only 4 games back. If you look at their last 10 games, it was evident that they were careless. Does anyone really think if the Heat tuned in every night that they wouldn’t have the best record in the league? I think so.

    Don’t forget who the Miami Heat are. Indiana is great, but at the end of the day Paul George is no Lebron. And that’s all the Heat need.

  10. kstaxboutthatmoney - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Said the man who apparently has no idea what month this is…

  11. bballhistorian - Jan 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Hahaha PGeorge and the rest of the Pacers are about to learn a HARRDD Lesson after this season!

    Great teams win ANYWHERE. Home court or not!

    MJ’s 3peat Bulls teams in ’93 & ’98 / Rockets ’95 repeat team / Lakers ’02 3peat team. All won on the road when necessary!

    It’s safe to saw Miami has been tested in every way since coming together in 2010…from losing in Dallas at home in 2011 to somehow winning the San Antonio series in 2013 (everyone remembers Gm 6, but they had a very impressive road win in Gm4 that they needed BAD).

    I’ve said it before and say it again….Miami in 6. I think this year they know that the ring goes through Indiana…no one else, and they will take them very seriously this year.

    Did you see what Barkley said last night about the Pacers, when he referred that his ’93 Suns team used to think about “home court = championship” mentality like the Pacers are this year (they lost every home game in the Finals vs the more experienced Bulls). #myonlytwopennies

    • gostlcards5 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Maybe Miami beats them, maybe they don’t. But Barkley’s and your thinking is flawed. No one said “home court = championship”. PG was asked a question and responded by saying that getting home court advantage was one of the major goals put in front of the team this year, because they know how well they play at home (by the way, they are 20-1 as of this point).

      Also, I would be very cautious about saying that Miami is going to teach Indiana a hard lesson. This Pacers team is much different than last year.
      – They go about 10-11 deep now. (Last year’s bench was mostly AWFUL.)
      – Everyone has played significant minutes early in the season, due to minor injuries, etc.
      – They have a former multi-time All-Star coming off the bench, capable of averaging 10-15/game in limited minutes.
      – PG (for the 2nd year in a row) and Stephenson are taking huge steps forward as young players.

      The thing that I worry about the most (and you saw it in the differences between the 2 games that Miami/Indy have already played), is taking care of the ball. If Indy limits turnovers, passes the ball, and works the inside (a.k.a. – the first game in Indy), Miami has a very difficult time beating them. When Indy gets complacent, makes a lot of lazy or careless passes (a.k.a. – the second game in Miami), they turn over the ball, can’t work inside-out, and create a lot of fast-break points for the Heat, who have great team speed when they turn it up.

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      It really depends. Depending on the quality of the teams involved, home court advantage can play a bigger or smaller role. It’s not like it’s meaningless under all circumstances.

      If you look at that series in ’98 that you cited, Chicago barely lost game 1 in overtime and then barely won game 2 in Utah. Then they came home and won game 3 by a score of 96-54. The point here is that they were that much better than the Jazz.

      So maybe Miami is that much better; maybe they aren’t. I think it’s silly as a fan to posture about it, but if that’s part of what you like about basketball, then you can certainly have your fun.

      But are you really saying that after Miami was down 2-1 in the series in the second round of the 2012 playoffs against the Pacers that they were not “taking the them seriously” last year?

  12. caeser12 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    I know that the Pacers are the reigning Eastern Conference “We took the Heat to 7 games in the playoffs” Champions, but for a team who hasn’t won a damned thing, Paul George sure does a lot of damned talking.

    • gostlcards5 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Dude, he answered a question in an interview. The headline, to me, is flawed in the blog, because in the interview I heard he didn’t say “they can’t beat us”. He said it was a goal, based on knowing that they play very well at home and thus would have a better chance by defending the home court.

      • doctordunkenstein - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        yeah, he was just answering the question..and the headline is somewhat misleading. but that doesn’t change the fact that the pacers and especially Boy George are talking an awful lot of smack for a team that hasn’t won anything yet…

      • caeser12 - Jan 17, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        OK.

        Still, it’s January.

  13. antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    Heh. The Pacers again showing their arrogance and naivité. It is best not to say anything at all, rather than saying you will beat a team you’ve never beaten.

    People are often deceived when a series goes 7 games… but it’s only wishful thinking if you believe the difference in the series was simply the location of the games.

    So, fine, George doesn’t think the Heat can beat them in a Game 7 in Indianapolis – but that won’t matter when they have home court advantage and lose to Miami in 5 or 6.

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      Clearly this is an example of a competitor answering a question honestly. That you see it as arrogance says more about you than it does George. To think you can be so easily trolled by a misleading headline.

      And you expose your emotional immaturity when you behave as so many fanboys: empty posturing from a guy who doesn’t play the games, because the payoff is soooo much better when you talked smack about it beforehand.

      Otherwise you occasionally display the ability to show insight into the game.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        If he was being honest he would say that he’s intimidated and he would hope that some other team knocks Miami out of the playoffs so they don’t have to see them.

        Instead we get this arrogance, which no one buys anyway. It’s a defense mechanism. They have an inferiority complex, which is why they talk all the time.

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:04 PM

      They don’t talk all the time. You do. They get interviewed frequently about just this issue because they happened to have made it clear that they want to have the better record going in. It’s not as if this is a new concept. Every single season, justified or not, talk of home court advantage comes up. You just seem to get something out of making it even more dramatic than the headline writers.

      George is intimidated? You’re just being silly. And I don’t say this as you would — faux-macho posing about my guy over someone else’s — but because that’s what it is. Silly. I doubt there is a single player on either team that is intimidated.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        riiiight… just answering questions… there is no other way to answer that question except the way George answered it.

        And of course George is intimidated. He’s human. It’s intimidating playing the Heat – the team that keeps knocking you out of the playoffs, with the player that keeps dominating you at your position – but you do the best you can.

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      You do the best you can? Seriously? Is that the best you can do?

      • antistratfordian - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:31 PM

        No, he does the best he can, but he was overwhelmed the last two times out… that Game 6 in 2012 and Game 7 in 2013… he couldn’t handle it.

        Trust me – the Heat are all over the Pacers brains. Miami is all they hear about and all they think about.

    • davidly - Jan 17, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      Wrong again. It’s all you talk about. There was a thread some time back in which you were whining about the arrogant Pacers (as I recall, it had nothing to do with the thread), and the quote you cited to back up Indiana talking was somebody for the Heat whining about the Pacers talking. Classic.

      As far as your conflating arrogance as a manifestation of intimidation — well, I guess you would know. Or, at least, you think you do. Your IQ would indicate your being correct, but your EQ makes it all suspect.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 18, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        I only talk about it in response to something a Pacer has already said in the press. And the Pacers talk about Miami a lot. I don’t bring it up out of the blue – it’s always initiated by the Pacers players.

        And I don’t know who you think these young Pacers players are, but it’s only human nature for them to be intimidated by the Hall of Famers, MVPs and proven winners on Miami. There is a 100% certainty that it is happening on some level – their preoccupation with Miami in the press is a sign of that, but also George Hill saying that the only person scarier than LeBron is God is probably the most honest reflection of how the Pacers actually view him. One would be constantly afraid that he’s going to get angry and drop a Game 5 vs Pistons, or a Game 6 vs Celtics, or a Game 7 vs Spurs, or a Game 4 vs Pacers, on you. That’s only natural – it’s pointless to deny this.

  14. daddyb1gdrawz - Jan 18, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    I do not blame Paul George for having this view. But lets think about this for a second. In last years playoff series, Indiana went back to after two games with the home court advantage. In fact, Indiana was up 3-2 with a home game and Miami won the next two. That tells me it does not matter. I do believe Indiana is the better team right now but as everyone knows the season is not over at the half way mark. True, Miami is a flawed team but they still manage to win. Lets not overlook the presence of Greg Oden and/or Andrew Bynum. Does anyone think it is a coincidence Miami traded away Joel Anthony and the next day played Oden? They wanted to see what they had in Oden. I still believe Miami can pick up Bynum then all of a sudden they are not as flawed.

    • davidly - Jan 18, 2014 at 4:21 AM

      You’re right. Plus, two years ago in the second round Indiana had a 2-1 lead and lost the next three.

      Still, one’d want as many games at home as possible, especially if you want to dethrone the champs; and one’d assume that a professional basketball team such as Indiana or Miami would have a certain amount of confidence going into games on their home court that exceeds the level on the road. The only thing George is talking about is how he, and to whatever extent, the rest of his team, feels. He’s not gonna answer the question posed to him with the logic you’ve just layed out. Now, if they lose home court, then you might hear the “it doesn’t matter” answer.

      Re. the centers in question: flawed or not, I am not so sure that the Heat are not better off just going with plan A rather than trying to change who they are midstream; it is what got them two rings, after all.

    • dbfan4ever - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      that was last year. This years Pacers team has an improved PG and Lance Stephenson plus a healthy Danny Granger to increase the scoring from the second unit! PACERS TO THE FINALS!!!!!

  15. dbfan4ever - Jan 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    PG may be right. So far he is Pacers beat the Heat at home and lost to the Heat on the road. Why is this comment a big deal. I am sure the Pacers would not want PG to think that they have no shot against the Heat at home or on the road. Pacers will take down the Heat this year! Book it!

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