The Eastern Conference Finals are set and it’s exactly who you thought it would be. On one side you have your Indiana Pacers led by Paul George. On the other side you have your so called “Hollywood” Miami Heat, the 2x defending champions. Ironically, the Pacers have acted much more Hollywood this season with their tabloid drama than their counterpart. The two teams met in the Eastern conference finals last year where Miami defeated Indiana in 7 games rolling to their second consecutive championship. This time the Pacers go into the series as the #1 seed with home court advantage.
At the start of the 2013-2014 season, the Indiana Pacers looked like the best team in the NBA leading most to predict that this would be the season the young team derailed King James and the rest of the Miami Heat. They were very vocal about their personal goals:
— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) November 7, 2013
— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) November 7, 2013
as well as their team goal; to get the #1 seed and beat Miami in the Eastern conference finals.
“We’ve stated our goal as trying to earn the No. 1 seed and this team is obviously the No. 1 competition to earn that,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of facing the Heat, with the teams also to square off next Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. “Not only do we want to get a W, but the head-to-head matchups.
They were so focused on these goals, they began to overlook the other teams in the Eastern conference. They were about find out just how hard having the bullseye on your back is.
As good as the Pacers started it all went down hill when they posed for this picture in GQ magazine.
Okay, it actually started right before the All-Star break. Even though they came into the break with the NBA’s best record at 41-13 they had dropped their last three out of five games. Still they were sitting at the top of the East with no worries and a comfortable lead over the Heat. Then adversity really had their way with them and we were starting to think that we had all been catfished, duped, punked by the Indiana Pacers.
1. Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George’s play and shooting percentage plummeted post All-Star break. It turns out he has having some ehh, off the court issues. It was discovered that his stripper baby mama had refused his alleged offer to get her to abort their baby for $1 million and he was soon about to become a daddy. That wasn’t the end of Paul George’s woes.
2. Paul George was catfished and tricked into sending nudes. To make matters worst he was allegedly catfished by a man, every heterosexual man’s worst nightmare. Young, rich and dumb.
3. Instead of sticking together when things got rough for them, the Pacers started calling each other out, showing division and a lack of unity. First Paul George questioned his team’s IQ, essentially calling them stupid. Then David West called his team selfish. After a 91-78 loss to the Wizards, Roy Hibbert took it a little bit further saying:
“Some selfish dudes in here,” Roy Hibbert muttered Friday night, after getting eight shots in the Pacers’ loss to the Wizards. “Some selfish dudes. I’m tired of talking about it. We’ve been talking about it for a month.”
Then to top it all off Evan Turner was involved in a physical altercation with Lance Stephenson and it’s no coincidence that the Hawks blew the Pacers out on their home court the next day.
4. Roy Hibbert had one of the worst meltdowns I’ve ever seen. How a 7’2 center can go a game without a single rebound is beyond my comprehension. He has been extremely inconsistent since All-Star break averaging only 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds on 41.6%. His lackluster performance has even sparked jokes from former players Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas.
Me and Roy Hibbert had the same amount of points and rebounds tonight.
— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) May 6, 2014
5, Many people were so puzzled by Roy Hibbert’s collapse and it wasn’t long before the rumor mill started spinning. Allegedly Hibbert’s horrendous last few months were a result of his teammate, Paul George sleeping with his wife. Honestly I don’t think that’s true but just the fact that people are whispering about it is enough to take your mind off the game. Paul George vehemently denied those rumors by the way.
6. And just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse, Paul George’s house was robbed while he was playing. Over $15,000 worth of jewelry and shoes were stolen.
With ALL of that being said, it’s almost a miracle that the Pacers even made it to the Eastern conference finals. But they did. No matter what has happened in between or how horrible they have been at times, it’s difficult to overlook the fact they they are right where they wanted to be at the beginning of the season. The number one seed in the Eastern conference finals, getting ready to go head to head with the two time defending champions.
A lot of people are counting them out but I urge you all to remember just how fired up the Pacers get whenever they play the Heat. How the Heat have had no answer for Hibbert and how he has had some of his best playoff performances against them. How the Pacers are a terrible matchup for LeBron James and company and overall, just how resilient the Pacers have been over these last few months.
They can silence all of the critics, myself included by beating the Heat and advancing to the Finals for the first time since 2000. If George and Hibbert play big enough to dethrone the Miami Heat all of their off court drama: stripper baby mama issues, catfishing, lackluster play, all will be forgotten.
Eastern Conference Finals Prediction
This might be the most difficult series to predict because you never know what Indiana Pacers you’re going to get. Also even though Indiana has the home court advantage, they have played awful at home in these playoffs. Miami has been consistent and has only lost one game in the postseason but LeBron is going to need some help if they are going to beat the Pacers. With all that being said, I have to go with momentum and Miami has it all. Heat in 6.