Entering this Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat, in the eyes of the public/sports world, were the clear favorites in their matchup against the Indiana Pacers. (And when I mention the “sports world”, or the “NBA world”, I refer to the general media, such as regional analysts or influential/qualified sports personalities from ESPN). However powerful the menacing Heat appeared in the games leading up, this general consensus blatantly ignored a straightforward fact from the regular season: the Pacers won the overall season series 2-1.
Yet after Indiana nearly (and should have) won Game 1 and actually took Game 2, the popular opinion recklessly shifted to the other side of the spectrum, in an essentially knee-jerk reaction: all of a sudden, using the most recent sample size of two games, the Pacers were perceived as formidable foes to the Miami Heat, and had a strong chance to even emerge victorious from this series.
Of course, after the Heat left no doubt in their Game 3 blowout win, the public consensus quickly shifted once again. The majority believed that the Pacers had no chance in making this playoff series competitive again, much less win Game 4, just days after recognizing Indiana as a worthy opponent.
So heading into Game 4 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and what somehow felt like the Pacers stood on the brink of elimination, the NBA world had practically written off Indiana. Clearly, this perspective was completely disproved as the Pacers won on their home court, evening the series at 2 games apiece.
In my opinion, I find it unbelievable and utterly idiotic how quickly the general public opinion–the perspective of the sports world–can change, in such an irrational manner, from game to game in this playoff series. It’s one of the few times when the reactions and attitudes of the general public (as well as the sports world’s most prominent members) is simply frustrating: how quickly it can reverse its judgment, how negligent it can be, and how it can be carelessly caught in the moment. It’s just agitating how fickle the sports world can be on such major topics, to the point where making all these claims and judgments on who controls this Heat-Pacers series is completely futile.
Perhaps it would be better to try to avoid being so blinded by a single playoff game (being caught in the moment)–such as an exhilarating and overly-influential basketball Game 3–and to not adopt such bold positions as a result of 3 hours of basketball (i.e. brushing off the Pacers after they Game 3 defeat). If anything, and greatly supported by the fact that this series is tied at 2-2, the sports world should have recognized from the onset that this Eastern Conference finals mathcup would be hard-fought and the two teams in it would be inseparable, therefore potentially stretching a full seven games.