After Larry Bird was named NBA’s Executive of the Year for his work as president for the Indiana Pacers he is looking to leave. This marks the second time Bird has come in to help the Pacers and then left them to fend for themselves. Before working in the front office Bird coached the Pacers from 1997-2000. The Pacers were just starting to turn around so why leave now?
Many people think it’s because of Bird’s health issues. Bird still suffers from a bad back which makes it hard for him to sit for long hours. As president a lot of his work involves him sitting and reviewing tapes of players or working behind a computer. I think that maybe this contributed some but overall I don’t he was happy with the team.
As you may remember during game 5 against the Heat Bird said the Pacers, “went soft.” I’m not sure what series he was watching but it’s not “soft” when one of your players has caused two Heat players to bleed from the head. Pacer Tyler Hansbrough elbowed both Udonis Haslem and Dwayne Wade in the head. Not to mention Lance Stephenson making choke gestures toward LeBron James while he made free throws. If anything I would say the Pacers played pretty tough, a little too tough. Regardless if the Pacers had made it to the Finals, I don’t think Bird would be stepping down.
The Miami Heat after 6 games and a lot of fouls are finally moving onto Round 3. Thursday night’s game was probably the best the Indiana Pacers have played. The Heat won, 105-93. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter that the Heat really pulled away from them. Maybe the Pacers were motivated by team President Larry Bird calling them ‘soft’ after Game 5. I don’t know how you can call a team ‘soft’ when they are making choke symbols and causing opposing players to bleed from the head. You have to feel for the Pacers who despite being a solid team are pretty much ignored by the media. I don’t think it’s the team so much as Indiana, it just doesn’t excite the media like Miami or Los Angeles. And really they shouldn’t feel bad because people constantly forget about the Spurs until it’s playoff time.
Regardless it was a fight to till the 4th quarter tonight. David West put up 24 points for the Pacers to lead the pack. Every starter for the Pacers put up double digits. But it was no match for Dwayne Wade who put up an amazing 41 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat. LeBron James had 28 points and 6 rebounds. Even if the Pacers were playing at their best there was no way they could outscore the Heat.
Now the Heat will wait until Monday when they will face either the Boston Celtics or Philadelphia 76ers.