Heat, Pacers ready to battle in East final

LeBron James (right) and the Miami Heat face the Indiana Pacers on Sunday to open the Eastern...

LeBron James (right) and the Miami Heat face the Indiana Pacers on Sunday to open the Eastern Conference final. (USA TODAY SPORTS)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:42 PM ET

It was as inevitable as it was unavoidable, two teams destined to meet on this stage with a berth in the NBA final at stake, two teams that have taken different paths, but two teams that have arrived nonetheless.

At this stage, it’s of no consequence how poorly the Pacers played to close out the regular season, how disjointed they looked in going the distance against Atlanta in the opening round of the post-season, exposed by Washington when the Wizards were able to get out in transition and use their three-point shooting in challenging Indy.

When the ball gets tipped Sunday afternoon, it no longer matters what issues followed the Pacers, what areas of deficiency were able to unfold without being addressed.

Perhaps when this ride ends, only in retrospect will all this noise be viewed as the reason why Indy did not advance to the NBA final.

“We have a goal,” Pacers point guard George Hill said. “No matter the ups and downs, we know what our goals are. We know


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