Pacers' Team Effort Makes Winning Fun

The Philadelphia Inquirer headline was a bit of an eye-opener this morning. Swarming Pacers too much for Sixers to hold off, the headline read in big bold print.

Swarming? The Indiana Pacers?

The best part about the headline was the accuracy in describing the team effort put forth by the blue and gold in front of an energized sell-out crowd. Swarming is a term usually reserved for defensive effort and there was plenty of that from the Pacers, especially in the second half when the home team seized the game.

There was lots of helpside, lots of deflections all fueled by a  hustling team that appears really connected as one right now. Everyone seems to buy into what they are trying to accomplish on the floor. Different guys stepping up at different times to lead the way or pick up a teammate.

There's plenty of work left for this team to do in order to have fun nights like last night against higher quality teams than Charlotte and Philadelphia, but the strides in the right direction are quite apparent. After reviewing the game this morning a couple of little things stood out which really emphasized the team effort that has led to this early success.

More on those plays and some links of interest after the jump.

Remember the exhilarating play late in the third quarter when Tyler Hansbrough picked up a loose-ball steal, fed it ahead to T.J. Ford who shuffled the ball off to a streaking Josh McRoberts for a big dunk through the foul of rookie Evan Turner? Of course, how could you forget.

McRoberts wasn't able to convert the free throw for the three-point play, but Mike Dunleavy fought his way to the rim to tip in the miss. Dunleavy does some little things quite well, but fighting for a rebound tip isn't one of them, let alone off a free throw.

The second little things highlight put a cap on the positive evening at the Fieldhouse. The Pacers had the ball and an 11-point lead inside of two minutes. Game is over, but they made sure by using up about one minute of game clock on the possession. Early in the possession, Josh McRoberts saved a rebound as he was going out of bounds he found an alert Tyler Hansbrough who then pulled it out to run a little clock. Then after Danny Granger bounced a 3-ball, Hansbrough grabbed the offensive board and again reset the offense to burn a little more clock.

After Hansbrough's play, the Fieldhouse crowd rose to show their appreciation for the team's effort on the night and were rewarded 20 seconds later when T.J. Ford finally finished the possession by getting fouled in the lane and making one of two free throws.

That point was inconsequential but the long possession fittingly closed out a night of effort and smart play with a group playing together and for each other focused solely on winning.

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