“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if a million voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.”
- Obi-Wan Kenobi, on the Indiana Pacers.
The voices were nothing but noise. Noise that was meant to distract you from the truth. The noise was nothing more than lies. And if you tell a lie enough, you start to believe it.
The Indiana Pacers believed their own lies.
The Miami Heat beat the truth out of them.
Last night the Heat rid the world of the Pacers 117-92, to win the Eastern Conference Championship for the fourth year in a row. Even that score is a lie, as the game wasn’t even that close. I’m disappointed the Heat didn’t win by 40.
Miami becomes the third franchise to make 4 consecutive NBA Finals, and this marks the franchise’s fifth Finals appearance in the last 9 seasons. As of this writing, the Heat are only one behind the Lakers (6) for Finals appearance this century (the Spurs can tie the Heat with a win in the Western Conference Finals; remember that San Antonio’s first Finals appearance was in 1999).
“Not one, not two, not three…” was how LeBron James put it at the celebration for his union with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. There was noise that followed that celebration. Noise of anger and mockery. Noise that was crying out for Pat Riley’s grand experiment to fail. Those noises got louder after the 2011 Finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
Fast forward 3 years later, and the Miami Heat share a place of history with the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers – the two premier franchises in the NBA.
The noise has stopped.
What pleased me about last night? Everything. The Heat put the Pacers out of their misery early in the game, then continued to pummel their broken carcass. This was a statement win for Miami. This was a reminder that whenever they want to unleash an unholy wrath on an opponent, it can.
And the statement was received loud and clear: The Pacers lied to us.
They said they were ready. They weren’t.
They said it was their time. It wasn’t.
They said they learned from last year. They didn’t. And they knew that. They just couldn’t admit to it. They enjoy having praise heaped on to them.
Paul George was told he was the next superstar, but hadn’t done anything to earn the right. True, he’s shown flashes, but he wasn’t ready for that label.
Roy Hibbert was told he was the reason the Pacers would beat the Heat. All of a sudden looked upon as a top center, he hadn’t really doing anything to earn that accolade.
Lance Stephenson was told he was an All-Star snub. He was told he could get a max-contract this offseason. He played to assure the world he was indeed a snub and that he was worth every penny. He was nicknamed “Born Ready”, but he hadn’t done a thing to earn that title.
So the Pacers lost their way because they got swept up in the noise around them. First as individuals, then as a team. They’re a team without an individual voice strong enough to block out the outside noise. A captain to calm the crew during the roughest of storms. Frank Vogel fed that beast, thinking if the team believed all the noise then that would be enough. He was wrong.
Now they have been dismissed into the unknown tomorrow. A fractured team trying to pick up the pieces. What they look like next season is a question, as Stephenson is a free agent, their bench and point guard spots need to be upgraded, and Hibbert may be a lost cause. Just more noise coming out of Indianapolis. The Pacers have admitted to their lies. The Heat were the truth serum.
Now the Miami Heat march on to the Finals, as if it was pre-ordained. A team once consumed in noise now tunes it out, as the ultimate goal is within their grasp. They let others bask in the noise.
For the Heat, 4 more wins brings a place in history. It gives birth to a dynasty.
That speaks volumes.