On Thursday, Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel had some strong words for the Miami Heat. According to ESPN, Vogel claimed that the Heat are the biggest flopping team in the NBA. He also went on to question how much the officiating will reward the flopping. Vogel went as far as to say that the Heat fall down before contact has been made.
This is not a smart move by Vogel. To do some early talking against a team that won every game in the regular season besides one is not smart. To wake up the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company is not the smartest move. In the regular season, Miami drew the fourth-most charges in the league.
When Miami plays with passion, everyone knows how dangerous they can be. Yes, the Heat do play overconfident and lack luster against some opponents. However, when teams do some early talking, the Heat come out with purpose. And that purpose is to blow you out of the water.
The Heat seem to do this at home on a regular basis. While I still think this series will either be a very competitive sweep or Indiana will only win a game, the Heat will be heading to the Eastern Conference Finals. Indiana will provide a much larger test than New York did, but will eventually not be able to compete with the talent and the three superstars of Miami.
The Pacers are a deep team, but when your head coach makes comments like these, it does not help your cause. If anything, it hurts it more. Just like with what Kevin Garnett said recently, the lack of respect does motivate him. This will be the same type of story for the Heat.
"We didn't do this the easy way," Hibbert said. "It took time. But Larry Bird and (general manager) David Morway drafted well. We got (David) West. We got George Hill, Leandro (Barbosa) and Lou (Amundson) for almost nothing. We didn't do this by signing a couple of superstars.''
That might be so, but to disrespect a team that Indiana has struggled with isn't the smartest way to do things. What it will do is wake up the highest remaining seed in the Eastern Conference.
It's very surprising to hear Vogel's comments before the series has even started. Perhaps it's just a young coach trying to get his team motivated to play against the the team-to-beat. Perhaps the Pacers are riding the series win over Orlando a bit too much.
One thing to look for on Sunday is how the Miami Heat open up the game. It will be interesting how the Heat react to such comments.