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Are the Pacers winning with dirty play?

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The Pacers are winning at a surprising rate this season thanks to a stingy defense and tough-minded approach to every game. That type of play can frustrate opponents, so let the whining begin.

USA TODAY Sports

TrueHoop TV turns its attention to the Indiana Pacers and how they have become a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference. Henry Abbott and David Thorpe discuss how the Pacers have become a factor in the East and a real problem for the Miami Heat.

Thorpe admiringly compares the current Pacers to the championship Bad Boy Pistons, which I can dig despite how unnatural it feels to accept that comparison as a compliment. There is no doubt the Pacers play a brand of basketball that makes them better than the sum of their parts and a big part of that is making opponents uncomfortable.

Abbot and Thorpe even raise the idea that the Pacers are developing a reputation as a dirty team.

Oh, wouldn't that be awesome?

There are nights opposing teams just aren't up to the level of effort it takes to handle the Pacers (see Philly last night). If teams begin dreading the grind even before the game starts and then start trying to find ways to be offended by supposed dirty play, even better.

Thorpe makes a great point that the Pacers essentially play at a playoff-level intensity every night, so when the actual playoffs begin other teams will rise to Indiana's regular season effort. But those teams will still have to be ready for a 48-minute grind. Can't wait!

Check out the whole discussion below.