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The Early Lead
Posted at 01:01 PM ET, 05/11/2012

Pacers coach Frank Vogel says Heat ‘are the biggest flopping team in the NBA’


Will LeBron stay on his feet on the defensive end against Indiana? (Jeff Zelevansky - GETTY IMAGES)
The upcoming Eastern Conference semifinals series featuring the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers doesn’t scream “dream matchup” or “ratings bonanza” on the surface.

It’s not Heat-Knicks or Pacers-Knicks of the 1990s, and while Indiana boasts several elite players in its balanced lineup, Danny Granger, David West and George Hill aren’t exactly household names.

But Pacers coach Frank Vogel is doing his part to build a little early animosity to the series, which gets underway Sunday in Miami.

“They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA,” Vogel told reporters at Thursday’s practice in Indianapolis. “It’ll be very interesting (to see) how the referees officiate the series and how much flopping they reward.”

Here we go...

“Every drive to the basket, they have guys not making a play on the ball, but sliding in front of drivers,” Vogel said. “Oftentimes they’re falling down even before contact is even being made.”

In Game 1 against the Knicks, LeBron James drew a highly questionable flagrant foul (video here) on New York center Tyson Chandler on a hard screen. James rolled around o the court briefly, clutching the back of his neck and grimaced as he paced around the court.

ESPN television analyst Jeff Van Gundy said of the play: “What kind of league are we becoming if that’s a flagrant foul?... You can’t adjust to the reaction.”

In All-Star center Roy Hibbert and versatile forwards West and Tyler Hansbrough, the Pacers have the type of post presence the Heat lack. Indiana’s ability to use its size and strength around the basket will be a key factor in their efforts to knock off the defending conference champions. The Heat won three of the four regular season meetings between the two teams.

More

Pacers say they’re not underdogs against star-studded Heat

Indiana coach Frank Vogel emerges as top-tier NBA coach at age 38

Point guard duo George Hill, Darren Collison help Pacers into Round 2

Kevin Garnett shows why it’s a bad idea to say he’s dirty and old

By  |  01:01 PM ET, 05/11/2012

 
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