SportsNation Blog Archives LeBron James
Heat get big win over Pacers
In what was as close to a must-win as one will see in an NBA December, the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 97-94 on Wednesday night in South Florida. And it was no back-and-forth affair; Indiana opened up a big first-half margin, led by as many as 15 in the third quarter, then watched as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade -- and clutch shot hitters Chris Bosh and Ray Allen -- rallied back.
In the end, a Paul George miss -- or was he fouled? -- gave Miami a one-all tie in the head-to-head series this year. The Heat also moved to within one game of the Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings. The two rivals play each other again on March 26, April 11 and -- barring a big surprise -- in the East finals. What does the future hold?
pollcenter:category=4830+heatgetbigwinoverpacersAndy Lyons/Getty Images
Which team wins -- Pacers or Heat?
Can a mid-December NBA game be a must-win? It just might be, thanks to the stakes involved in the Indiana Pacers-Miami Heat series. While no team has come close to these two in the Eastern Conference, home-court advantage appears to be all-important. And if the Heat don't defend AmericanAirlines Arena on Wednesday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN), they'll be in an 0-2 head-to-head hole -- and trail the Pacers by three games in the standings. Making things murky: LeBron James (ankle) is a game-time decision.
pollcenter:category=4827+whichteamwins__pacersorheat?Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
Who wins East -- Heat or Pacers?
There's not much going on in the Eastern Conference outside of the Heat and Pacers, which made Tuesday night's game in Indiana a must-watch. And it didn't disappoint; the home team won 90-84. This shouldn't surprise; Pacers came close to knocking off the Heat in last season's playoffs, and the way they're playing this season, it's not clear that Miami would have the home-court advantage this time around. Paul George might even be able to challenge LeBron James' MVP hegemony -- although, as in all things NBA pre-New Year's Day, it's still quite early.
The one variable NFL coaches can't control is also the one that can have the biggest impact on a team's season: Losing key players to injury. The Bears, Rams, Eagles and Colts know that all too well, as all four teams lost key performers for weeks or for the season. The Rams will have to replace QB Sam Bradford, while the Colts lost lost Reggie Wayne. The Eagles' QB situation was muddled when Nick Foles' concussion reopened questions about who should start in Philly. And the Bears, already fighting injury losses on defense, will be without quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs for weeks. Which of these teams was dealt the lousiest cards?
The hits keep on coming
Josh McCown will step in at QB while Jay Cutler recovers from a groin tear.
Tough break for Indy
With leading WR Reggie Wayne out for the season, the Colts will be counting on T.Y. Hilton and Darius Heyward-Bey.
With Sam Bradford lost for the season, the Rams must decide if they'll turn the team over to backup Kellen Clemens.
Who gets the start?
Nick Foles' concussion could put Michael Vick back in as starter in Philly. Should it?
Whether you think Colts owner Jim Irsay was taking a swipe at Broncos QB Peyton Manning's postseason record with the Colts or just being honest about his frustration at winning only one Super Bowl with Manning, this much is true: It sure got people's attention. Irsay is in a back-and-forth with Broncos coach John Fox over whether it was an "unneccesary shot" at Manning, or whether Fox "misperceived" the comments. Former Colts coach Tony Dungy said Irsay was "getting personal" in an effort to throw off Manning's game. Manning, for his part, chose silence. What's more, all this followed Irsay pumping up the Welcome Back Peyton tribute the Colts are throwing their former QB on Sunday.
Jim Irsay's Colts won a lot of games with Peyton Manning at quarterback, but just one Super Bowl.
What does the Fox say?
John Fox believes Irsay's comments about Manning's postseason record weren't needed.