INDIANAPOLIS Ind. – This weekend, it’s the Pacers and the Cavaliers in the playoffs again.
It’s the fifth time in the last seven years the Pacers have faced LeBron James in the postseason. Last season, Indiana was swept in the first round when they faced Cleveland, but this year it’s a different team with a different mentality.
“The past is the past for a reason,” Victor Oladipo said following practice on Friday. “This is a totally new team and we are a new team.”
“I think we just have a little bit more a spark and edge to us than we had last year.” Myles Turner admitted Friday afternoon.
The Pacers showed that spark in the regular season, beating the Cavaliers in 3 out of their 4 match ups, but this is the postseason.
“The regular season is different,” Pacers point guard Darren Collison said. “It’s just a different ball game, more attention to detail, different game plan.”
Nate McMillan echoed that sentiment after practice, “We did some good things during the regular season but playoffs is a different style of basketball and a different challenge.”
And that challenge is to take down LeBron, who has never lost a series in the first round of the playoffs.
“We’ll defend him with our guys,” Coach McMillan said. “We can’t create magic here. We’ll defend him like we did in the regular season.”
However they defend him, it’s clear the Pacers have a way of getting to LeBron James, especially Lance Stephenson.
Whether Born Ready will admit it or not, he has successfully gotten into the King’s head in previous match ups…so much so that there’s no relationship between the two and Lance says that’s exactly the way he likes it.
“I don’t have friends on the court anyway,” Lance said after practice. “Not even the players I played with before…I’m not friends with them either when I play them. Everybody I play against is my enemy.”
The Pacers and Cavs square off on Sunday at 3:30 in Cleveland for game one.