The Indiana Pacers know they don't have the offensive firepower to entertain thoughts of a finesse series against the Miami Heat.
They want to bring some ugliness to the Eastern Conference finals, to physically challenge the mental fortitude of the defending champs. With a pair of bulky bruisers filling the paint and a trio of athletic, blue-collar grinders on the perimeter, they have the bodies to do it.
But there's a variable in that approach that's outside of their control. The players can only be as physical as the officials will allow.
Hoops heads might bemoan the decade-long transition away from the black-and-blue basketball that used to take center stage come playoff time.
But more than anything, players and fans simply want the game called consistently, and those nonstop whistles that have been chirping since Game 1 have at least set the tone for the series.
Of course, desiring consistency doesn't have to mean enjoying it.
Those whistles didn't relent in Game 2, and after Pacers forward Sam Young drew a questionable technical-foul call, Indiana assistant coach Brian Shaw had seen enough:
Sam Young gets a tech. Brian Shaw gets a tech, then earns the admiration of millions by yelling, "Ball don't lie!" after missed FT.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) May 25, 2013
Rasheed Wallace's colorful catchphrase has certainly taken on a life as large as the 6'11", four-time All-Star himself.
But there's something unique about Wallace's take on the basketball gods extending their long hands of justice, something that's forced the expression deeply into the hoops vernacular.
It often feels far more like an accurate assessment than just a memorable slogan:
Ray Allen is proof that Ball Don't Lie is a scientific principle #AmexNBA— ok creelman (@futurematic) May 25, 2013
Free throws are never a guarantee, but they certainly seem like one when Ray Allen (a career 89.4-percent foul shooter) strolls to the charity stripe.
So if you're grading the officials on Shaw's (or Wallace's) scale, then make the technical foul on Young the right call and the one assessed to Shaw the wrong one.