After LeBron dismisses the Pacers as a rival, they shut down the Heat in a big win

LeBron may be LeBron, but Paul George and the Pacers got the last laugh last night

Still, 10 home games into the season, the Indiana Pacers are undefeated at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and extended their incredible season-starting winning streak in the Hoosier State with an statement win over the Heat last night.

The first meeting between last year's Eastern Conference Finals participants, Tuesday's game and its interesting result came just hours after LeBron James shut down the notion of the Heat and Pacers being rivals in the traditional sense.

Now, with the comeback nature of Indiana's win in the matchup, those words look to be a little farstretched. In eschewing aside the idea of an Indiana-Miami rivalry, LeBron may have motivated his opponents to win the game, and extend their lead in the Eastern Conference standings to three games over the Heat.

From's Mark Montieth: "I've been in this league long enough to make too much of certain regular season games," LeBron James said before the game.

…We've [LeBron and the Heat] played the Pacers two years in the playoffs and you guys make it into a rivalry. There's no rivalry in the NBA these days…"

In no uncertain turns, the undoubted best player in the NBA right now displayed the incredible confidence and faith he has in his two-time championship-defending team. Most of the time, LeBron can get away with that because, normally, most other NBA teams do not play with the type of physicality and skill needed to take down the mighty Heat.

However, with the Pacers it is different, because they pose a legitimate threat to Miami's dynasty, even if LeBron does not realize it yet. It might be a lesson he learns too late in his quest for his third title.

About Josh Burton

I'm a New York native who has been a Nets season ticket holder, in both New Jersey and now Brooklyn, since birth. Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism) '18