Trash-talking in Heat-Pacers is already outstanding, Heat called "biggest flopping team"
That includes the mouth of their head coach, Frank Vogel. Vogel has unapologetically proclaimed that the Heat are basketball's most frequent floppers.
"They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA," Pacers coach Frank Vogel told the Indianapolis Star, referring to Miami. "It'll be very interesting to see how the referees officiate the series and how much flopping they reward."
"Every drive to the basket, (the Heat) have guys not making a play on the ball but sliding in front of drivers," Vogel continued. "Oftentimes they're falling down even before contact is even being made. It'll be interesting to see how the series is officiated."
It'll be interesting to see how many times Vogel starts a sentence with, "It'll be interesting to see..." It probably goes without saying that this man is already working the officiating crew.
Flopping, the art of falling to the ground and pretending that you were fouled, is not officially kept as an NBA statistic. According to HoopData.com, though, the Heat have drawn the fourth-most charges in the NBA this season.
Add to this the remarks earlier this week from Pacers center Roy Hibbert.
"We didn't do this the easy way," Hibbert told the Indy Star after the Pacers closed out Orlando. "It took time. But Larry Bird and (GM) David Morway drafted well. We got D-West. We got George Hill, Leandro, and Lou for almost nothing. We didn't do this by signing a couple of superstars."
Let's analyze Mr. Hibbert's excellent trash talk there. First, he has established that the Heat did it "the easy way", thereby reputing Miami's toughness and work ethic. Secondly, he refers to a "couple of superstars".
"A couple" means "two". He is therefore subtly inferring that Heat center Chris Bosh is not among these superstars. Hibbert will be covering Bosh much of this series, and is already angling to get into Bosh's head and marginalize Bosh's confidence.
There is a common thread to these insults. Coach Vogel's "biggest flopper" comment questions the Heat's toughness and masculinity, and casts them as crybabies. Hibbert's remarks insinuate the team is lazy.
The Pacers, a team without a true superstar, are priming themselves up as the hard-working, no-nonsense, small-market Midwesterners. They are characterizing the Heat as South Beach glamor boys who lack the toughness to withstand physical play.
Miami won their regular season match-ups with the Pacers this year, winning three games and losing one.