Pacers coach Frank Vogel tried to quell a controversy that had brewed between him and LeBron James ahead of the Pacers' Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Heat. (Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel on Monday addressed a controversy that stemmed out of a slightly misleading quote attributed to him about LeBron James.
The back-and-forth between James and Vogel began on Sunday, when reporters questioning James quoted Vogel as saying the Heat were "just another team" — something to which James took exception.
Vogel's words were actually much less combative, as he said after the Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals that the Heat were "the next team in our way."
"Sorry sports world, the words 'just another team' never came out of my mouth," Vogel said on Monday, according to NBA.com. "Great respect for LBJ and the champs. Looking forward to [a] great series."
Still, James took exception to Vogel's original comments when they were relayed to him by reporters on Sunday.
"We're not just another team," James said. "I don't understand what he's saying. But we're not just another team. That's not true. He said we're just another team in their way. We're a great team. If we're just another team, you really don't prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us."
This isn't the first time that the Pacers and Heat have exchanged blows in a war of words before a playoff series. Last season, Vogel was fined $15,000 by the NBA after calling the Heat "the biggest flopping team in the NBA." Indiana lost that series after taking a 2-1 lead. The Pacers won two out of three regular-season matchups with the Heat this season.
Game 1 of the Easter Conference Finals is Wednesday night in Miami.