NBA

LeBron James fired up for Eastern Conference Finals

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Miami Heat forward LeBron James is fired up to face the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals this week.

The series doesn't tip off until Wednesday, but that hasn't stopped the two teams from engaging in a verbal back and forth.

They matched up last year when the Pacers took a 2-1 series lead, before the Heat stormed back to win the next three without injured starter Chris Bosh.

And James insists the Heat are confident of winning again this year and booking their place in the NBA Finals as they look to defend their crown.

Speaking to ESPN, James said: We're very confident. We'll be ready for them. We don't need bulletin-board material.

"We've heard everything, we've seen everything. But I would say we're not just another team, though."

Pacers coach Frank Vogel caught the attention of the 2013 NBA MVP by calling the Heat "just the next team" at a recent pre-series press conference.

And James took exception to the remarks.

"We're not just another team," said the Heat forward. "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."

The two have history - Vogel was fined $15,000 last post-season after labelling the Heat "the biggest flopping team in the NBA".

The Western Conference Finals got underway on Sunday night, as the Memphis Grizzlies were steamrolled in San Antonio by the Spurs.

Tony Parker put up 20 points, Kawhi Leonard another 18 and Matt Bonner hit four of five from beyond the arc for 12 points as the Spurs beat the Grizzlies 105-83 in Texas.

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