The Indiana Pacers played like champs to run their record to 5-0 after disposing of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The mellow locker room following the win over their division rival revealed they are winning like champs, too.
On to the next one.
But this was a big win for the Pacers, not only to beat the Bulls and keep them searching for early-season answers, but to do so on a nationally televised game, to make sure every nook and cranny of the NBA is fully aware of what is going on at the Fieldhouse.
It's not a fun place to visit.
Yes, Paul George and Lance Stephenson are making this engine hum and Roy Hibbert is the cornerstone of a devastating defense, but a couple of other key components came up big, showing they will be ready to roll in big games.
Both David West and Luis Scola struggled at times in the first four wins while trying to find ways other than scoring to help the Pacers win. On Wednesday, the PF tandem answered the bell under the bright lights with a combined 29 points, 16 rebounds and five steals, including a steal by Scola that sparked the big fourth quarter after the big fella's finger-roll finish at the other end.
Along with the bigs, the reserve point guard tandem of C.J. Watson and Donald Sloan wiped the hard drive clean of any past images with D.J. Augustin and Ben Hansbrough on the floor. Sloan has ranged between decent and bad in his early appearances, but when called on to expand his role on Wednesday he was more than up for the task. As for Watson, he simply looked as if he was brought in solely to deal with Derrick Rose. Huge effort in George Hill's absence.
Speaking of Augustin, he's getting minimal minutes off the bench for a talented Toronto Raptors teams that visits the Fieldhouse tomorrow night. On to the next one.
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