The Indiana Pacers showed they were a different team this year in a number of way, but mostly by showing the mental toughness to put losses behind them quickly. The Pacers made it 25 games before losing two games in a row which they wore as a badge of honor, putting together some quality wins after losing in the prior game.
Until the five game losing streak became a streak starting with losses at Atlanta and Memphis in consecutive games, the Pacers followed up a loss with a win seven times. Those seven bounce-back wins included games at New Jersey and Boston, home against Atlanta, at Golden State, Chicago and Orlando, and then home against Utah.
The win at Boston was big because the Pacers were 4-2 at the time without an impressive win among their 4 W's and had just been destroyed on South Beach by the Dwyane Wade-less Miami Heat. The Pacers rose up and put forth a big effort to beat the Celtics.
The home win over Atlanta after a discouraging loss at Philadelphia was big as well considering Philly, Atlanta and the Pacers are all considered comparable contenders in the East. Plus, Atlanta has caused the Pacers plenty of problems in the recent past. Al Horford was injured in this game and the Pacers absolutely outplayed the Hawks for a solid win.
The win over Golden State was meaningful because the Pacers had just imploded against the Sacramento Kings two days earlier and had to overcome past poor play on the West Coast swing. It also set up the biggest win to date two days later when the beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the second year in a row at Staples Center. Roy Hibbert played through a broken nose, exemplifying the toughness the Pacers were playing with at the time.
The next bounce-back win came at Chicago against the hated Bulls in what was arguably the best win of the first half coming after a tough loss to Orlando the night before. The Pacers played a strong 48 minutes in the hostile UC, holding off Derrick Rose and the boys and then getting under Rose's skin by enjoying the W. The Pacers then had to pull a similar trick in Orlando two games later after losing to Boston. Again, a strong effort on the road to avoid consecutive losses.
Two of the better wins of the season didn't come after losses, but they were on the road in consecutive games. Kevin Love lit a fire under Danny Granger and 33 lit up the Timberwolves in a chippy contest in Minneapolis. The Pacers went from there to Dallas where Paul George exploded for his career-best game filling the highlight reels and stat sheet with 30 points.
So which win do you think was most impressive?
Which Pacers win was most impressive in the first half of the season?
@ Boston - bounce-back after Heat beating (3 votes)
@ Chicago - exacted a little playoff revenge the day after bad loss to Orlando (146 votes)
@ LA Lakers - Hibbert broken nose game, closed out strong road trip (46 votes)
@ Dallas - took down defending champs in impressive fashion (37 votes)
Other - explain in comments (1 vote)
233 total votes