By Mark Montieth
The Pacers await LeBron James like a gathering storm. It might be a good idea, in fact, for the local television stations to put up a crawl, warning everyone of the potential calamity that could hit Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday, when a focused and angry Miami team tries to avoid falling behind 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.
So, what do the Pacers do to keep James within a mortal realm and avoid handing over homecourt advantage to the Heat?
“Just recognize the spots he likes to be aggressive, and make sure we’re aware and accountable for that,” coach Frank Vogel said.
That’s about all a coach can say, really. But the Pacers have weapons of their own, and two of them could be capable of overcoming the box score tornado that James might stir up. If Roy Hibbert remains effective and Lance Stephenson remains poised, the Heat will be hard-pressed to knock down the Pacers’ balanced foundation.
Miami has no good matchup for the 7-2, 290-pound Roy Hibbert, as he proved when the two teams met in last season’s conference finals and he averaged 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds. He reiterated that in Game 1, when he had 19 points and nine rebounds. Vogel isn’t declaring his center unstoppable, pointing out Miami’s title-tested team defense, but the stats prove Hibbert remains a major obstacle for the Heat.
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