Well hellooooo fellow Pacers fans!!! Coming off a terrific win last night in South Beach, my expectations for this team have increased tremendously. I know, I was only one game, and it was against a team that is obviously still trying to build the chemistry and cohesiveness that could ultimately transform them into a dynasty (hopefully not). However, Lebron James was still on the floor, Chris Bosh's talents were present as well, and Dwyane Wade was in the house too. All three have proved to be dominant against us in the past. Here are how each of these dudes did against us last season:


       November 20, 2009             40 pts, 9 boards, 7 assists ------------ Cavs win in Indy 105-95

       January 29, 2010                 22 pts, 9 boards, 13 assists ----------- Cavs win in Indy 94-73

       March 17, 2010                     32 pts, 9 boards, 9 assists ------------ Cavs win in Cleveland 99-94

       April 9, 2010                          DNP -----------------------------------------Pacers win in Cleveland 116-113

                                                        *** Averages -- 31.3 pts, 9 boards, 9.7 assists ***


       November 24, 2009            19 pts, 12 boards, 4 assists------------ Raptors win in Toronto 123-112

       January 11, 2010                 27 pts, 10 boards, 2 assists ---------- Pacers win in Indy 105-101

       January 31, 2010                 26 pts, 15 boards, 7 assists ---------- Raptors win in Toronto 117-102

       February 2, 2010                 35 pts, 15 boards, 3 assists ----------- Pacers win in Indy 130-115

                                                       *** Averages -- 26.8 pts, 13 boards, 4 assists ***


        October 30, 2009                32 pts, 3 boards, 4 assists ------------- Heat win in Indy 96-83

        December 27, 2009           25 pts, 3 boards, 6 assits -------------- Heat win in Miami 114-80

        January 19, 2010               32, pts, 0 boards, 3 assists ------------Heat win in Miami 113-83

        April 2, 2010                        43 pts, 9 boards, 6 assists ------------ Heat win in Indy 105-96

                                                       *** Averages -- 33 pts, 3.8 boards, 4.8 assists ***


Last night, when we took our talents to South Beach (that'll never get old), we "held" Lebron's ass to 25/5/6, contained Bosh to the tune of 21/11/0, and shut DWade down for 3/4/5. All well below their averages from last year. I understand their averages from years past against us were so impressive because they were their team's centerpiece, and lone dominant force. My point isn't necessarily their outrageous individuall stats, but more so the fact that their previous teams were so dominate as a whole against the Pacers last year. We were 3-9 against the Cavs, Raptors, and Heat last year (and one of those wins was with Lebron out of the lineup). We never beat any of those teams on the road when one of the Big 3 were playing. Our average margin of defeat was 16.4 points. Last night, we beat the Heat by 16 in a building where we lost by 34 and 30, respectively, last season. And last season, these guys played on teams with not half the talent as this current Heat team. I understand the circumstances are completely different, and the Heat are struggling and will only get better, but it is still fun to look back and see how far we have come. Last season, nobody with any brain whatsoever would have ever bet a 3-days-old ham sandwich we could come within 20 points of a team like this.

That brings me to my main point for this post (I got way off-track and I know some of you will think the above info is completely irrelevant). THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL EMERGING HERE. They may not win 50 games, they may not even make the playoffs this year, but they are beginning to look like a team that is going to become a very, very competitive and dangerous one in the very near future. Just a few years ago, the only thing considered "dangerous" about the Pacers was encountering them in the wee hours of the night in a strip club parking lot. The difference is glaring, showing up not only on the stat sheet, but also the excitement I feel every time they step on the court (except for a couple set-backs, which is expected for a young team playing together for the first time). The players seem to actually CARE, they are INSPIRED, and they are stubborn in that they refuse to roll over for a team that is expected to blow us out. We do still seem to struggle with the teams we actually are favored in, but I think that will change as they grow together and are no longer seen as a speed-bump on the schedule. I have always stood by the Pacers, always have and always will, but I haven't necessarily appreciated (maybe not the right word) them for the last six years or so. Back in the days of Reggie, Rik, Mark, the Davises, and all the others from those glorious years, I bled blue and gold. In middle school, I got through my day in anticipation of that night's game. The last few years, however, there were some times I was home at night, and wasn't even aware they were on TV. All the sudden, I find myself scouring for anything and everything Pacers, trying to maneuver my work schedule around game nights. It's a refreshing feeling, to actually be proud of the guys we put on the floor each night. I think it will only get stronger, and I think everyone else feels it too. Sorry for the rambling, and sorry for the choppy paragraphs, but I AM EXCITED...GO PACERS, PLEASE KEEP IT UP!!!!

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