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Monday, December 11, 2017

LeBron James to Frank Vogel: We’re not just another team

LeBron JamesLeBron James did not appreciate Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel referring to the Miami Heat as “just the next team” standing in their way from reaching the NBA Finals. In fact, he was so insulted by the remark that he responded on Sunday with a clearly irritated tone.

“We’re not just another team,” James told reporters, via ESPN’s Michael Wallace. “I don’t understand what he’s saying. But we’re not just another team. That’s not true. He said we’re just another team in their way. We’re a great team. If we’re just another team, you really don’t prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us.”

Vogel made his remark after the Pacers beat the New York Knicks 106-99 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series on Saturday.

“It’s exciting, but this is not about getting back at Miami,” Vogel said when asked about facing the Heat. “You’re in the final four, you’re competing for a championship. You’re competing for a championship. And they’re just the next team that’s in our way. And that’s how we’re approaching it.”

Indiana gave Miami a tough test last year when the team’s met in the Eastern Conference semifinals. They were up 2-1 in the series before Miami came back to win in six. The way last year’s series went probably had the Heat on alert. But Vogel’s comments are already leaving an impression; James referred to them as “bulletin-board material.” Also recall that Vogel tried pulling the same trick before the teams met last year when he called the Heat the biggest floppers in the NBA.

“We’re very confident,” James said. “We’ll be ready for them. We don’t need bulletin-board material. We’ve heard everything, we’ve seen everything. But I would say we’re not just another team, though.”

The way Vogel described how they view the Heat is good for his team. If you want your team to feel like they can compete with the Heat, you have to view Miami as just another team. The problem is Vogel should have kept those words between himself and his team rather than say them publicly. Now, James is going to have extra motivation entering the series. That’s bad, bad news for Indy.

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