The Indiana Pacers versus LeBron James is something we’ve come to expect in the playoffs as they’ve met five times out of the last seven seasons.
Death, taxes, and Lebron James versus the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs. Not many things in life are certain but LeBron vs the Pacers postseason has quickly become a near-yearly tradition.
The Pacers enter the playoffs in the eyes of many the same way they entered the season. With no expectations, no publicity, and no chance to win. Despite winning 48 games this season, (17 more than Vegas predicted the Pacers to win) despite winning the regular season series against the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-1, the Pacers are an afterthought in the world that is the NBA.
Outside the reunion of Lance Stephenson and LeBron James, the national media has already begun to debate who could be the toughest opponent for Cleveland moving forward. If it weren’t for Lance’s historical antics, there is a realistic chance you could watch a 24-hour news cycle of sports without any mention of the Pacers.
In their defense, if the past is any indicator of what is to come of this first-round series than they are right to assume LeBron and the Cavs will roll past the Pacers. Going back to the 2012 playoffs, Indiana is 7-16 against LeBron James, with one series going to seven games and anothe being a sweep.
However, if there is anything we have learned about this year’s Pacers team, it’s that they are nothing like the previous Pacers teams.
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Unlike years prior, this year’s Pacers squad has shown us time and again how much they enjoy playing together. How much they enjoy watching their teammates succeed. There are no selfish players on this roster but rather a bunch of good ball players that make up one hell of a basketball team.
That said, it is hard not to notice what LeBron James can do come playoff time as he flips the proverbial playoff switch. Pacers fans can’t rely on our 3-1 series to be an indicator as to how this series may go. The Cavs are a different team with almost an entirely different roster since the Pacers last played them. They have more youth, more depth, and oh yeah, they have LeBron James.
As a fan of the Pacers, I am fine with the lack of attention they have received. All year the Pacers have been disregarded and counted out. Why should this be any different? At least the Pacers get to play with the same mentality they have played with all year. They get to play with house money. Only this year the odds seem different.
I’m not saying I think the Pacers will win. I’m not even saying I think the Pacers will lose. What I am saying is that this years playoff matchup is different. Even if it doesn’t look like it is. And I personally am eager to see the outcome. Even if the rest of the world thinks they already know what it will be.