Though picking the Spurs to repeat next June, the NY Post’s Peter Vescey presumes that Indiana and Miami will be the likely finalists in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers, despite flaunting six guys who can go goofy at any time, will provide stiffer resistance than the Spurs are accustomed to coping with in the Finals.

For the first time since the Indy 500 was raced with a horse and buggy, the Pacers are without the retired Reggie Miller. Not having him holding them back anymore is reason alone to pick them. By remaining loyal to Miller two years more than common sense dictated, the Pacers were financially forced to move free agent Brad Miller to the Kings in a non-productive sign-and-trade transaction and deal unhappy Al Harrington for Stephen Jackson.

Yeah, Miller could still fill it up at the end of his career, but so could James Jones (averaging 16.6 points and 42-percent FG from deep as a Sun), whose growth Reggie stunted, to single out one former teammate. And, guess what, the 6-8 Jones also rebounds and plays defense.

Afterthought: Let’s not dwell anymore on the past. Fans now get 82 fresh chances to guess when Artest will visit the special prosecutor. How can anyone not like the Heat to sail through the ashy Southeast Division, despite all the new sailors Pat Riley has welcomed aboard? (Coaches have no input regarding personnel changes in Miami and Detroit, to name two places.)