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Pacers and Clippers Working Hard for the Ws

I can't wait for the Pacers/Clippers game on Wednesday night.

Up until a few days ago, that's a sentence I never thought I'd pound out on the ol' keyboard. But, here we are only three games into the season and a three night layoff seems like an eternity.

If I've learned anything by following the Pacers over the past few year, it's that good times are fleeting. The state of the franchise is day-to-day. With that mindset, I'm constantly checking my entusiasm. I'm patient, so I'll happily wait a few months until we have a better sampling of games to analyze.

That doesn't mean I don't want the good times to keep on rolling. The P's are 3-0 without having the full roster available so far. Shawne Williams will join the club on Wednesday, while Troy Murphy is questionable. The Pacers haven't played exceptional in any of their games, but they have been able to execute at critical points in each game to deliver the Ws.

Doesn't seem to matter what combination of players is on the court, there remains a constant level of effort and execution that works well and is a joy to witness.

The Clippers have had a similar start thus far, playing without their most important player, Elton Brand. They've had players step up and expose better than advertised talent in combination with a solid team effort. Clips Nation has a nice post of the impact of effort and hustle on an NBA team. I'm with ClipperSteve's dad on this one after watching the Pacers' level of effort go through the roof. The effort does become contagious and pretty soon you don't want to let down your teammates, which in turn improves chemistry, which further improves effort and execution, and so on, and so on.

The key is filling out your roster with effort guys. The Pacers have two motivated groups of players which has helped Jim O'Brien create a culture around the team where giving maximum effort is expected AND embraced. There is a group of players that were embarrassed by how the team finished last year (think Dunleavy, O'Neal, Tinsley, Granger). The other group is working to prove they belong in the NBA (think Diener, Rush, Owens, Harrison). One thing the Pacers have proved through three games, effort and execution are key variables in the formula to create a team that performs better than the sum of its parts.

Bring on the Clips!