Welcome to Dallas: Home to the World Champs, home to Dirk Nowizki's sensational one-legged jumpers, and home to a former Pacer coach who's finding that winning and a headcase effect don't have to be a mutually exclusive combination. For years, one could pencil in this type of game as a loss for the Blue and Gold, and wouldn't think twice about it. Not anymore. Not for these Pacers, who continue to not only win, but perpetuate the idea that winning time in Indiana isn't just a mere trend; it's becoming a staple, an expectation.
Defense and rebounding is the Pacers' calling card. Consider them smash-mouth elements that pose a favorable threat to the Mavericks' spotty offensive production so far during the season. Further prompting good vibes on the Pacers' end is their improving production on the offensive side of the ball. In Indiana's last five contests, they've averaged 100.6 PPG while shooting a respectable 46% from the the field. While poor-shooting stretches haven't disappeared entirely, their frequency and duration have decreased significantly. If Indy keeps progressing toward solving the stingy offensive-efficiency puzzle, the rest of the league will likely have no other choice but to be put on Blue-and-Gold notice. And we're not just talking about 4-5 seed notice either.
Saturday, drama-magnet Dwight Howard and the Magic enter the confines of Bankers' Life Fieldhouse for an Indiana-themed, Superbowl primer. Howard's trade-me antics appear to be officially wearing on the Magic franchise as they've lost five of their last seven games. With or without the Dwight drama, the Pacers chances of a home win are sublime as their smash-mouth style seems a good match for just about any coming opponent these days.
Have a happy Pacers' viewing weekend!