Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel's comments on the Miami Heat may have rubbed LeBron James the wrong way, but it'll be interesting to see how each fair in the Eastern Conference Game 1 Wednesday night at 8:30 pm ET.
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Vogel made the statement during his postgame news conference Saturday after the Pacers closed out the Knicks in Game 6 of the conference semifinals, setting up a rematch with the Heat. Miami defeated Indiana in the conference semis last season on its way to the NBA title.
"We're not just another team," James said. "I don't understand what he's saying. But we're not just another team. That's not true. He said we're just another team in their way. We're a great team. If we're just another team, you really don't prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us."
This marks the second straight postseason the Heat and Pacers have engaged in a war of words before facing each other. Vogel was fined $15,000 last spring for saying the Heat were "the biggest flopping team in the NBA." Indiana took a 2-1 series lead before the Heat won the next three games while playing without injured center Chris Bosh.
James said his ears perked up when he heard Vogel's postgame remarks Saturday night after the Knicks series.
The Heat and Pacers play Game 1 on Wednesday, a series that starts six days after Miami ousted the Chicago Bulls in five games.
"We're very confident," James said. "We'll be ready for them. We don't need bulletin-board material. We've heard everything, we've seen everything. But I would say we're not just another team, though."