The Indiana Pacers put any concerns about their late-season swoon to rest with a focused and energetic effort to beat the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of their first round playoff series.
Not only did the Pacers show up ready to roll in the postseason but so did the fans. With an opening series against the Hawks, I heard plenty of grumblings and jokes about the expected empty seats at both arenas in the series. But the fans turned out for Game 1, selling out BLF with a text book playoff atmosphere.
I guarantee there were a few half-written stories prior to the game ready to point out the lack of Game 1 support. Click delete. The Pacers organization earned that sell out with their relentless promotion and effort to entice fans to the Fieldhouse over the past couple of years. They've taken the message to the streets with events in the community like Friday's pep rally for the downtown lunchtime crowd. Hope those front office folks felt a part of that big win in front of a big crowd yesterday because it has taken more than just good basketball to get a lot of those fans back. But yesterday they were back in far better numbers than I expected against Atlanta.
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