The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers begin their bubble playoff battle today at 4 p.m. on TNT. The 4-versus-5-seed matchup has a little more juice than your normal middle-of-the-pack Eastern Conference first-round best-of-seven. The forecast calls for 100 percent shenanigans in this one, per usual for a Heat-Pacers series.
Simply put, these teams hate each other. It's about to go down.
More specifically, these two basketball towns hate each other. For a while now.
Why do the Miami Heat and their fans hate the Indiana Pacers? Let us count the reasons it's so.
Indiana thinks basketball loves them more. The Indiana Pacers' go-to rallying cry is "We Grow Basketball." Larry Bird was born in Indiana in the '50s and the movie Hoosiers came out in the '80s, and now these people think they specialize in basketball or something.
We Grow Basketball Here pic.twitter.com/xMAaQVY6i4— Myles Turner Brazil (@MylesTurner_BR) July 10, 2020
The Indiana Pacers have never won an NBA championship. If they are indeed growing basketball, they should try keeping some of the good crops for themselves once in a while.
Back in 2013, Pacers announcer Mark Boyle saw a few Heat fans leaving American Airlines Arena early when Miami was down at the end of game two of the Eastern Conference finals. He proceeded to slander the entire fanbase based on this.
"We are literally sitting in the crowd here. These losers are leaving," Boyle said of the Heat fans. "They are flocking to the exits with their team down by three. This city does not only not deserve this team, they don't deserve any team."
The Heat ended up blowing out the Pacers in game seven of the series, 99-76, to advance to the team's third-straight NBA Finals. The Heat won that, too. Eat it, Mark Boyle.
T.J. Warren. Earlier this season, the above happened. Pacers small forward T.J. Warren poked the Jimmy Butler beast and things went poorly for him.
Recently, after Warren lit up the NBA bubble with a stretch of high-scoring games, he met the Heat for a rematch. That, predictably, went poorly as well. Warren was shut down by the Heat and sat out the games that followed with a foot injury.
Good luck handling an entire week of the Miami Heat, T.J.
Reggie Miller. Just Reggie Miller. If you know, you know. Most players we hate retire and go away. Reggie Miller retired and transformed into this X-Men character with the superpower of being annoying.
He now calls NBA games, and from time to time, there's no getting away from the former Indiana Pacers' voicebox.
Lance Stephenson PTSD. Will Miami Heat fans ever truly recover from what former Pacer Lance Stephenson put them through during the LeBron James years? Probably. Does the Pacers uniform still remind us of the anger we felt at that time? Definitely.
Lance Stephenson was an all-time pest. He has zero success against the Heat, but all the therapy we've needed to deal with the anger issues he gave us is reason enough to still hate the Indiana Pacers.
T.J. McConnell. To be fair, this guy really has never done anything to hurt the Miami Heat. He's just one of those players who is very annoying to watch score on your team. T.J. McConnell is six-foot-one, but on a court surrounded by NBA giants, he looks like he's five-foot-nine, if that. He also tries really hard, which isn't much fun when he's not on your team.
There's just something about this guy that's easy to hate. It probably has to do with his hair.
The Indiana Pacers have always just been the Dollar Tree version of the New York Knicks. The Pacers and New York Knicks have a lot in common, and it's all terrible. Both teams have wanted to play the bully role against the Miami Heat. Both teams have a combined next-to-zero success in the NBA since the early '70s. Neither team has ever given the Miami Heat the respect they deserve.
The Pacers are just the Knicks without all the history and ugly uniforms.
"Pacers" is a terrible name for a team. The Indiana Pacers are named after a car that goes slow on a track meant for the fastest cars in the world. They're also loosely named after some horse-racing thing from the 1950s.
The University of Indiana's mascot is a Hoosier. Nobody even knows what that is. Why is Indiana so bad at nicknaming things?
Domantas Sabonis is a bad guy from a Rocky movie. For what has to be going on three decades now, the Pacers have somehow found centers who look like they should be wearing a black leather jacket and guarding a kidnapped person in a Taken movie, or fighting Rocky.
It's unclear where they find these people, but Domantas Sabonis is another one. Lumbering up and down the court. Ugly hooks. Dirty elbows. The worst.
Mike Pence. Former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is a Pacers fan. That's it. That's the reason.