The Orlando Magic handed the Indiana Pacers their first home loss of the season in devastating fashion less than a week ago (102-83). Tonight, the Indiana Pacers returned the favor in Orlando with a similarly impressive 106-85 victory. Danny Granger continued his recently improved form with 24 points on 10-20 shooting, while George Hill was arguably even more important to the team with 16, 6 and 4 (on 6-9 shooting), breaking out of a recent slump.
The victory could be played down by the fact that Orlando’s just going through some rough times (they have been absolutely hammered lately) — and it’s not difficult to understand why. The guy who’s calling out the rest of the team for poor play is the one that’s publicly asked for a trade, and its very possible that the team’s poor play stems from the trade request by the guy calling everyone out. It’s all so complicatedly circular.
Whatever. With the win, the Pacers improve to 13-6, not bad considering they have played 13 games on the road thus far. Looking closer, the Pacers have beaten the likes of Boston (twice), Atlanta, LA Lakers, Chicago and now Orlando (all road victories except one against Boston and the Atlanta game), while 4 of the 6 losses have come against Miami, Philadelphia, Orlando and Boston — so the argument that the Pacers are merely feasting on a cupcake schedule is starting to look less and less legit. I fully expected this team to be at 10-10 by the end of January, but if the Pacers win at home in the upcoming game against the New Jersey Nets (which they totally ought to), they will be at a remarkable 14-6 to start the season. Wow.
I don’t want to get overly excited, but maybe I’ll have to start re-evaluating my expectations for this team.