In the early going of the NBA season there has been no team more impressive than the Indianapolis Pacers. Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz told Only A Game that their motivation stems from their final game last season.
That was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami against the top-seeded Heat. The Pacers lost 99-76. The Heat went to win the NBA title.
“[The Pacers] were in the game for about a quarter-and-a-half to a half and then just got blown off the floor,” said Kravitz. “They made up their mind then and there that they were going to do everything in their power to make sure that if there was a Game 7 during the course of the  playoffs, it was going to be at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.”This season the Pacers are off to an extraordinary start, going 17-2 out of the gates. Kravitz attributed the success to the Pacers’ deep roster and the leadership of Paul George . Last year, the George was named the NBA’s most improved player. This year, the swingman’s play is even stronger.
“[George] has vaulted himself into superstar status in this league,” said Kravitz. “Right now, he’d be second behind LeBron James in the MVP vote, if I had a vote.”
Kravitz says the Heat and the Pacers are approaching the regular season differently. they don’t seem to feel the same urgency as the Pacers.
“Miami has got a gear that no other team has. So I think at times they loaf a little bit because they can. I think with the Pacers the feeling is that the number-one seed out of the East is imperative. It’s the one way they’re going to win – get to the finals,” said Kravitz. “They have no intention of letting any night pass without their best effort.”
When Kravitz watches the current Pacers squad he’s reminded of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons who knocked off the favored Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship.
“[The Pacers] just don’t have any great weaknesses throughout the roster,” he said.
It’s no coincidence that attendance is up, and Kravitz says Pacers’ fans are the most excited he’s seen them since the team’s glory days with Reggie Miller in the 1990s.