LeBron: Pacers not on our level

LeBron James feels there are no more rivalries left in pro basketball.

With the Miami Heat currently playing second fiddle in the standings to the Indiana Pacers, there has been talk that the teams are on course for another Eastern Conference finals date. James dismissed the idea that the Heat and Pacers are rivals.

“What is a rivalry these days?” James said. “What’s a rivalry? A rivalry is Celtics and Lakers. They met like four out of five years…Bulls-Pistons. Those are rivalries, man. We’ve played these guys two straight years in the playoffs and guys automatically make it a rivalry. It’s not a rivalry.

“There is no real rivalry in the NBA these days. You don’t see the competition enough or play the competition a lot. It’s two really, really good teams that are striving to win a championship, but rivalries…there are no more rivalries. There isn’t. It’s the truth. No rivalries.”

The Pacers and Heat have met in each of the past two postseasons, battled to seven games in the 2013 Eastern Conference finals and are fighting for top spot in the conference. Many pundits sense Indiana can surpass Miami after winning 19 of their first 22 games.

For Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, the Pacers are not the better team this season.

“That remains to be seen, it’s a long season,” Spoelstra said. “They are playing great basketball and you have to respect that.”