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Game 1 loss to Bulls prepared Heat for Pacers, LeBron says

That surprsing outcome to the Bulls in Game 1 of the second round wasn't a complete waste, according to LeBron James.

James said the Heat’s unexpected loss in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals provided an important experience going into Wednesday’s Game 1.

“It set us up the right way,” James said. “We were off for a while and Chicago came in off a seven-game series and they were just on top of their game still and we weren’t. We had eight days off, so I think that gave us a good wake up call and we needed it.”

SMALL MARKET OR LARGE MARKET?

—One interesting subplot of the conference finals is the rise of the little guy. Indiana, San Antonio and Memphis are considers small-market franchises, while the Heat is generally consider a large-market team. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra noted on Monday that perception regarding the Heat has changed since the Big 3 arrived in Miami.

“You know what’s interesting…and Micky [Arison] has always talked about this, Miami was never considered a big-market team until we put together this team, so it shows you can change perspective by the personnel you have and the type of team you put together,” Spoelstra said. “If you build it, they will come.”

Is the Heat a large-market team? In terms of perception, I'd say, yes, the Heat is large-market team. In terms of cold-hard numbers, Arison would still argue that the Heat is small-market. Of course, Arison doesn't want to share his profits with other owners around the league, so his position on the subject is understandable.

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