Admit it. You too were worried that the Indiana Pacers, one night after their stunning victory in Miami, would stumble back at home against the Lebron-less Cavs. The Pacers of last year probably would have lost this game, but not this year.
The Pacers went back to Conseco Fieldhouse and took care of business in dramatic fashion, leading by as much as 34 points before winning 100-91. Danny Granger continued his stellar play with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Darren Collison had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Perhaps most impressive was Brandon Rush, who looks like he’s finding his groove, chipping in with 16 points on 7-10 shooting.
Great win. Believe it or not, the Pacers are now 7-6 for the season, which puts them, as of now, fourth in the Eastern Conference behind Boston, Orlando and Chicago. I know it’s still early in the season, but it looks unlikely that the Pacers will finish the season at the 13th or 14th spot in the East as most experts have predicted.
However, Pacers fans need to be prepared for some rough times ahead. They are still in a very difficult part of the schedule, with a home game coming up against the rising Oklahoma City Thunder. They will then be on the road for the next 7 out of 9 games, starting with a stiff challenge against the reigning two-time champs, the LA Lakers. Other dangerous teams in thus stretch include the Utah Jazz, the Phoenix Suns, the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls.
It’s quite likely that the Pacers will be a couple of games below 0.500 after this period, but as long as they don’t fall too far behind, remain healthy and keep doing what they’ve been doing, they’ll be fine.