Bird expects NBA Finals run for Pacers

Larry Bird boldly has proclaimed that the Indiana Pacers are “all in” and says anything less than an NBA Finals appearance this season would be a disappointment.

In an interview with The Indianapolis Star, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations — who took a year off before returning to the front office this year — declared that this should be the year his team gets over the hump against the Heat and wins the Eastern Conference title.

When asked whether the Pacers could win a title, Bird said: “Anything less than (a Finals appearance or a conference finals appearance) would be a disappointment. I think anything over 50 wins is a good season, but I believe we’re built more for the playoffs than we are for the regular season — because we’re deep and we’ll have time to prepare. It’s hard to beat 10 or 11 guys.”

The return of Danny Granger — who missed all but five games last season because of an injury in his left knee — and the development of young stars like Paul George and Roy Hibbert make Bird confident the Pacers can win it all.

Bird always backed up his tough talk as a player. Now we will see whether his players can back up his talk as an executive.