The Indiana Pacers visit the Miami Heat tonight, but the thrill is gone. It was just yesterday that these two teams looked like they might create a rivalry for the ages, having faced off in the Eastern Conference finals for two years running and in the semis the year before that. But the 2-6 Pacer’s demise has been swift–exacerbated by the brutal season-ending injury to superstar Paul George. And though the 5-2 Heat are good, no one expects them to play at the post-season level they did with LeBron James.
Even Lance Stephenson won’t be there to blow in Chris Bosh’s ear. In an NBA where, unlike the old days, teams are pretty chummy on and off the court, the Pacers-Heat rivalry always featured genuine enmity between the teams. They didn’t like each other. Now the tenor has changed so much Indiana is getting sympathy from Heat leader Bosh: “When you think you have it bad, somebody else has it worse,” Bosh told the Sun-Sentinel. “Yeah, I mean looking at the bad blows that they’ve taken over the past few months, I know it’s been very tough for them.” You hear that Indy? Chris Bosh feels sorry for you.