The Heat and Pacers went through a grueling, seven-game series in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, so some may wonder if James isn't downplaying his assessment of rivalries. Lance Stephenson had different words about Tuesday's game:
Just transcribed my tape from this morning. Lance Stephenson referred to this as a "championship game" four times in 47 seconds.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) December 10, 2013
James, on the other hand, had a different opponent in mind:
LeBron: "The closest thing I had to a rivalry in my career was against Boston."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) December 10, 2013
James' last game with the Cleveland Cavaliers was Game 6 of the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics. James and the Celtics met again in the 2011 conference semifinals when the Heat beat Boston in five games. A year later, the Heat again beat Boston, but that time it took seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.