- Tom Haberstroh
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But he doesn't see any parallels to the outside turbulence the Heat went through in 2010-11 and the Pacers' current situation.
"I can't put the 2010-11 criticism that we got ... it will never compare to any other team," James said Tuesday at his locker before the Heat played the Brooklyn Nets. "I don't know what they're dealing with. Obviously, I watch television and I can hear some of the frustration that's coming out of that team, but as far as the criticism and the scrutiny, it will never compare to our team."
After sitting in the pole position for the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed for the majority of the season, the Pacers have now lost five of their last six games and 12 of their last 19 games. After starting every Pacers game this season, Pacers center Roy Hibbert sat the bench for the entire second half of Sunday's blowout defeat at home against the Atlanta Hawks.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel indicated that his center needed rest and the rest of the team "looked worn down." On Tuesday, Vogel asked his five starters to take the day off and the team would practice without them.
The Pacers are facing adversity. And their biggest competitor in the East, the Heat, has seen it all.
In the Heat's first season with their star trio of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the team absorbed an avalanche of criticism following a 9-8 start to the season as well as a late-season swoon that saw them drop six of seven games after the All-Star break.
But James doesn't think the Pacers' recent turmoil can be put on the same scale.
"I pay attention to what they've been doing as of late as a basketball fan," James said. "I don't get too involved in as far as strategically what's going on with [the Pacers]. But I've seen they haven't been some good basketball as of late."
Like James, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he can't glean anything from the two situations.
"I really will not waste one [piece] of thought on what's going on in that camp," Spoelstra said. "I don't even know if you can compare it, what they're going through and what we went through."
The Heat and the Pacers face off in Miami on Friday. The defending champs hold a two-game lead in the loss column with six games to play.
As part of his regular viewing schedule, Miami Heat forward LeBron James has kept an eye on the Indiana Pacers slide lately.