Frank Vogel: 'Great respect for LBJ'
Frank Vogel said Monday that he has great respect for LeBron James and the Miami Heat, but as for James' perception that the Indiana Pacers coach considers Miami "just another team," he said the Heat superstar is mistaken.
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"Sorry, sports world, the words 'just another team' never came out of my mouth. Great respect for LBJ and the champs. Looking forward to [a] great series," Vogel said Monday, according to NBA.com.
On Saturday night, after the Pacers won their series against the New York Knicks in six games, Vogel referred to the Heat as "the next team in our way. And that's how we're approaching it."
The comments fired up James, who responded Sunday.
"We're not just another team," James said. "I don't understand what he's saying. But we're not just another team. That's not true. He said we're just another team in their way. We're a great team. If we're just another team, you really don't prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us."
This marks the second straight postseason the Heat and Pacers have engaged in a war of words before facing each other. Vogel was fined $15,000 last spring for saying the Heat were "the biggest flopping team in the NBA." Indiana took a 2-1 series lead before the Heat won the next three games while playing without injured center Chris Bosh.
Miami defeated Indiana in the conference semis last season on its way to the NBA title. The Pacers won two of their three regular-season games against the Heat, with both of their wins by double figures coming in Indiana.
The Heat and Pacers play Game 1 on Wednesday, a series that starts six days after Miami ousted the Chicago Bulls in five games.
ESPN.com's Michael Wallace contributed to this report.
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