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STORY: The Heat didn't shy away from the obvious on Friday. They don't like the Pacers.

It’s the playoff series the Heat has waited nearly seven long months to begin.

And there is no need to fake it or shy away from the obvious. The Heat and Pacers do not like each other. The teams are meeting for the second-straight year in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the two rivals have swapped victories since Game 1 of the 2013 East Finals.

Over the past few years, the Heat and Pacers have developed a healthy dislike, and on Friday the Heat’s players acknowledged the disdain that will be carried into this best-of-7 series. The Eastern Conference Finals begin on Sunday in Indiana. Game 2 is on Tuesday at Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“We expect it to be just as competitive,” Heat center Udonis Haslem said. “More competitive than last year, more competitive than anything in the regular season. We’re talking about two teams that have grown to not really like each other over the last couple years.”

After sitting out the Heat’s series against the Brooklyn Nets, Haslem will be inserted into the starting lineup against Indiana to matchup with the Pacers frontcourt of power forward David West and center Roy Hibbert. Haslem started the Heat’s first series of the playoffs against Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson before stepping aside for Shane Battier to start against the Nets.

“I got to work him,” Haslem said of Hibbert. “I got to make everything tough. I can’t give him anything easy. I’ve got to be ahead of every play. I got to be mentally and physically on top of it and it’s got to be a grind.”

Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade, healthy for this series after dealing with knee pain last year, said the bad blood between the Heat and Pacers works to the Heat’s advantage.

“We’re not a young team where dislike should get in the way of us winning basketball games,” Wade said. “That’s when you’re younger and you’re coming up. That’s how Boston had us, where there was a dislike for them and mentally it got us off our games. We learned from that and we learned from them.

“No matter what goes on in the games, the chippiness, the back and forth, that’s part of the game, but you got to keep your head in it and continue to move forward.”

Comments

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Heat in six.

7 games.

Then they face the Spurs.

Eyeball, I completely disagree with you on us losing to scrub teams In the regular season. I would much rather have homecourt against the Pacers and potentially against the West winner. I still can't stop thinking about those bad losses. And I know for a fact Spo is pissed too.

It must be Miami in six or else.
Rarely does any NBA team 3-peat and Miami is no exception.
There will be no HEAT victory in Indiana in a game 7. That's asking too much from our guys this time around.
We must play with added urgency and bring our "A" game each night to repeat as NBA Champions. Everyone must stop kidding themselves and honestly admit we were very fortunate to win it all last year.
Bottom line: If we play stifling defense and our 3-point balls are on target, we win! if not, Indiana will represent the EAST.

This is the playoffs and regular season goes out the window. Indiana lost only 6 games at home this year and they have already lost 4 already in the playoffs. Home court is not in Indiana's favor.

Let's go Heat!!!!

Well, Guys, we have been to 3 straight finals and won 13 playoff series. 2012's game 6 at Boston was like a game 7 down 3-2, -- 2011 East finals, Chi had the homecourt and won game 1, and we ended up winning in 5. The good thing is indy kind of lost their indentity. When U lose 2 games at home to ATL, a game 5 at home to ATL, and have to go 7 games there are problems.

Then they turn around and lose game 1 at home to wash, and up 3-1, in a close out game at home, get blown out in game 5 trying to close out washington. ATL and Wash, if they had playoff experience, would have disposed of indy . ATL had multiple opps and choked down the stretch, n washington the same thing. Even in that game 2 loss, they jacked up 3's with 2 min left only down 3 and missed like 4 in a row. Blew the game 6 lead and other leadz.

I THINK this would be the best series for SPO to unleash beasley with the 2nd unit. WE are GETTING NOTHING NOW from Rashard , or battier spot. So, with UD starting, having beasley come in for 12-15m , Soola or even david west wouldnt be able to guard him and can get us easy points and make them work.

COME ON SPO------

^^^ Couldn't agree more with Beasley. But unfortunately it won't happen.

Just hope the refs call George for carrying/palming the ball just once. He carries it more than Durant.

Go Heat !

Stephenson is a total imbecile.

In the famous words of Dennis Green - "they are who we thought they were" We'll see how this plays out.

Well...so far E-Ball has been correct with regard to both Oden & Beas not having any meaningful contributions so far this season. I would highly doubt either playing any role going forward unless someone gets injured.

Got my fingers crossed...really hoping someone other than Big 3 ...has career crazy high series.

Gotta end it with Iron Mike - "everybody has a plan...until they get punched in the mouth".

Let the punching begin...

Total pathetic effort...on every level.

Can't even begin to describe. Heat were NEVER really in this game.

Refs better find surgical help to locate whistles they swallowed.

Vision of 3-Peat looking extremely cloudy.

NOBODY played like they had a clue...made every Pacer look like a All-Star.

Off-season busts, aging roster, regular season boredom, shirt jerseys, and bad crab dip ...spelling doom.

Heat need Game 2 in worst way. Pacer's can't shoot that well again (?) & Heat can't play like a high school team again (?)

Why did Pacers play like the Heat...and for some inexplicable reason the Heat played like the Pacers have been playing ?

Why did every Heat player play scared ? Tired of seeing Bosh play with a constant pantload the whole game.

1st...Heat need to play thru Lebron every chance they get & he needs to quit deferring.

Hey...this is what the Heat wanted, didn't care about the home court, ass-dragged the whole regular season...so now here it is.

Winning game 2 changes everything...but hard to sugar-coat today's play which was D-league level.

The reason we lost was Mario Chalmers! That idiot played a horrific game. I counted that he missed 5 shots within 2 feet or less. He makes those and it's a completely different ball game. But it doesn't matter. He has cost us so many games over the last couple of years I have honestly lost count. Can't wait for him to leave this offseason.

Also...Spo has to reshuffle his cards. He still hasn't found his best line-up against this Pacer team. This ever-changing game-time shuffle really reveals his every game challenge with this average player roster. Pacers have advantage mismatches everywhere...but just hope their gold swagger bites them in the ass in Game 2.

Spo has to locate LeBron in spaces where he can prosper ... then tell everyone else to get the hell out of his way !

BKY - yeah the problematic Chalmers played as you might expect. But I find myself cringing whenever anyone other than Lebron has the ball. Certainly by this point I would hope logical basketball fans realize that both Wade & Bosh are NOT max salary players. Whatever happens this post season...next season Lebron is going to deserve a full blown max deal complete with his own Carnival cruiseliner.

Looking forward to watching Spurs/Thunder tomorrow - THAT will be a series.

Venting over : Heat will win next 3 games.

Why wasn't Wade kicked out of this series for a DELIBERATE knee to the head of George in game two? Wade is by far the dirtiest player in the league. He has gotten away with cheap shots for years. Time for this "stuff" to be called on him.

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