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IC Cold Links: Pacers Stand Strong In Tough Central Division; Ready For Knicks Tonight

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The Indiana Pacers are back in familiar (though not recent) territory in the Central Division.

After steamrolling to five straight wins for a 5-3 record, including a 91-83 win over the Nets Tuesday, the blue and gold sit tied for second place in the very, very early race in the division. Of course, the Cavs, which are visiting the Pacers on Friday, have a sturdy 8-3 lead, but the rest of the division is holding its own.

The Central has proven to be one of the toughest of the league in this young season. Only the Pistons have fallen briefly under .500 with a 5-6 mark, while no other division has more than three teams with a better than .400 record. The Pacers, however, have no real idea of how they match up with their divisional brethren. They have yet to play another rival from its own division this year. In fact, Friday's matchup with the Cavs is the only Central Division foe for the blue and gold this month.

The Pacers will have to make in-roads within its own division by beating up on the dreads across the league. Another opportunity to do that occurs tonight when the Knicks visit Conseco "Reggie Miller" Fieldhouse. With a victory, the Pacers would be winners of six straight, while also taking both games of a back-to-back, which happened only once last season.

While you're waiting for tonight's game, check out the jump for links about Roy Hibbert's dominating performance against the Nets, Troy Murphy's return to practice and what the future holds for coach Jim O'Brien.

"Coming down to the end of the game we wanted to make sure we closed it out. Last year, I think that we kind of folded and we lost those close games. They made their run, we stayed strong, we dug deep and we played together and we had each other's backs out there and that's why we got this win tonight." -- Roy Hibbert