Pacers crush Magic before Heat showdown

No need to say too much except that the Pacers crushed the Magic 115-86 in Orlando, avenging an embarrassing loss earlier in the season. It was a good bounceback win for the Pacers after choking the previous game away against the Celtics, and sets them up nicely for a HUGE showdown with the Heat.

For those who aren't in the loop, the Pacers have beaten the Heat handedly twice already this season, though both of those games came in Indiana, where the Pacers are significantly better than they are on the road. Plus the Heat are on a record winning-streak after winning their 17th straight today, and Lebron James is playing out of his mind.

So yeah, another good measuring stick for the Pacers. You have to admit, with the way things are going that their chances aren't great against this Heat team, but that's what makes Sunday's game so interesting. No team has challenged the Heat quite like the Pacers this season, and if they win it'll give them a clean sweep and some much-needed confidence heading into the playoffs, where a potential conference finals matchup looms.

What do the Pacers have going for them? Well, for starters, they are no longer getting blown out by good teams. They are sticking with every team these days even in the losses, and when they play bad teams they no longer play down to their level but instead dominate like we saw tonight against the Magic. That is a sign of progress.

They were also dismal on the road earlier in the season but it appears they are turning that around as well. They shot over 51% today against the Magic and nearly 49% against the Raptors in their last two road games, both victories. Granted, these are bad teams, but at least the Pacers are hitting their open shots on the road now, unlike before.

Danny Granger, by the way, has been shelved for another week, and I think it is safe to assume that he won't be 100% this season, if ever. It'll be nice to have him back even at 75% for the playoffs, but for now I think it's best if they pretend he won't be back and prepare mentally for the road ahead.

As I said, hard to see the Pacers winning in Miami against a Heat team whose last loss came against the Pacers more than a month ago, but if anyone can snap the Heat's winning streak, it's this Pacers team.

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