Tonight, the Indiana Pacers embark on that quest to the elusive NBA Title. While, I don’t put much stock in preseason as let’s face it, it’s all about the regular season and postseason, there are still things to look for in tonight’s game and the rest of this preseason for the Indiana Pacers. You look at a team that has high hopes for themselves. Paul George wants to make that next step into stardom. Danny Granger wants to bounce back from injury and show the Pacers he’s worth the investment. Chris Copeland wants to show his scoring threat ability for the Blue and Gold. Roy Hibbert, David West, Ian Mahinmi, Luis Scola want to be a formidable big men threat. Coach Vogel wants to be that beacon of optimism for this team. Fans even have some high expectations for this team as we want to see an appearance in the NBA Finals this season. The Pacers are on that track to win now, even with the long term in mind.
I’ll start with the idea that Danny Granger wants to bounce back from injury. You look at last season, and how much of an extra scoring option Granger could have been, and who knows if the Pacers somehow get out of the East. But now, you’ll look at Granger as that bit of leadership on the floor. This is a guy that’s really been an Indiana Pacer his whole career. I think he understands his role on this team, but he’ll still have to fit into that role. He’s not the first scoring option as usual. He might not even be a second or third option. But he’s still someone out there that you could count on for consistency as long as his body holds up. That’s the thing to watch for even in this postseason, how Granger is looking and feeling out there. Sure, the speed of the game will pick up once the regular season hits, but I would say Granger goes full speed now to get his body ready for that. It’s one thing to feel good in a walk through at practice, but a whole other thing banging against the opponent in the lane for a full contact game.
On the Chicago Bulls‘ side, they’re just as interested to see how their superstar looks coming back. There’s been lots of hype for this Derrick Rose return that actually started up last season. But as we saw, Rose was never ready to go last season. That looked to be more of a mental game than a physical one. But that’s a whole other article post. Right now, we’ll see how Rose goes out there and if he’s even close to where he was. He’s that guy that really can make this season for the Bulls special,
The Pacers and Bulls are the two teams that will be battling it out for Central Division supremacy. Sure, the fans of Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit will tell me that their teams are improved and ready to go. To that, I say, show me. It’s one thing to say your team is full of talent that can make a playoff run, but you have to actually go out there and prove it. Look at this Pacers team, how it take a few years to get to that Eastern Conference Finals, even with some of the talent they have. These other teams in the division, I believe are still a year or two from fully competing for those top spots in the East. Maybe they’re competing for playoff spots, but even that I am questioning.
If you’re looking to see the beginning of Indiana’s quest to take home the title in 2013-14, Pacers vs. Bulls tickets are still available.