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Pacers Rising in the Ranks

The Pacers' 3-0 record is forcing those who cover the NBA to take notice. Marc Stein had the Pacers ranked 29th in his preseason rankings. After the first week of the season, he's moved the Pacers up to 14. This is what he has to say.

Focus, if you wish, on the fact that their victims -- Washington, Miami and Memphis -- are a combined 0-8 so far. The Pacers, with so little expected from them, rank as our undisputed Team O' The Week regardless.
Nice to get a little respect and I don't have a problem with the 0-8 record of the opponents. Washington has lost to the Celtics and Magic, in addition to the Pacers. I think both the Celts and Magic are better than the Wizards, so the 0-3 record for the Wiz doesn't exactly put them in '72-'73 Sixers territory. Also, Memphis has some great talent and took the San Antonio Spurs down to the wire in their other loss. I have no excuse for the Heat, well, except that the Pacers were lucky to play them without Dwyane Wade. But, I just want to emphasize that the wins over opponents with a 0-8 combined record doesn't make it as easy as it might look on the surface.

NBA.com also has updated rankings out that are based on performance, not speculation of future success. The Pacers are sixth in these rankings, the lowest 3-0 team.
Off: 109.2 (11), Def: 97.5 (4) -- 3-0? The Pacers? With Jermaine O'Neal missing one game and not playing more than 25 minutes in the other two? What's going on here?
Now this is an honest assessment that I'm sure has been repeated all over the league. Hell, I've asked myself the same questions and honestly, I don't need any answers. Just keep throwing up those mysterious Ws, keeping lofty company at the top of the standings, and I'll be happy.