The Indiana Pacers have gotten off to their best start in NBA franchise history, sitting at 13-1. That stands as the best record in the NBA and tied with the San Antonio Spurs, a perennial contender in the league.
Media critics and NBA followers across the country have taken notice, but have also noted the strength of schedule thus far for Indiana. Of the 14 teams they have faced, none of them currently sit above the .500 mark. Zero. Zilch.
However, Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit all came into their respective matchups with the Pacers holding a winning record. All three are considered early candidates to reach the postseason. Minnesota has an improved lineup. Chicago has recently learned Derrick Rose will miss the remainder of the season…again. And Detroit has a new-look team as well.
Indiana has also played very well on the road with wins over the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit, among others. New Orleans has the talent to be good, although it will be tough for them to reach the postseason in a loaded Western Conference.
The Pacers traveled to New Orleans on the second night of a back-to-back and spoiled the Pelicans’ home opener in front of their new team owner. New Orleans had adopted a new mascot (Pelicans) heading into this season. With excitement swirling in the Big Easy, it didn’t bother a focused Indiana team.
Many Indiana Pacers players have stated, “Every game counts,” if they expect to earn the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
That explains their determination right from the start. If Indiana was not 13-1 right now, nobody would be taking notice. The fact of the matter is because the Pacers are beating the teams they are expected to beat, the hype has drawn national attention as the wins pile up.
The two-time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat have played a very weak schedule and currently sit at 11-3. Runner-up San Antonio has also played a weak schedule and is tied with Indiana in the win-loss category at 13-1.
What’s to say who the Pacers play? A .929 winning percentage through 14 games is impressive, no matter whom the opponent.
“They’re an elite team, there’s no question,” said Memphis coach David Joerger following his team’s loss to Indiana.
Of course the Indiana Pacers will be tested, just like every other team. They soon will travel west to face the Los Angeles Clippers (10-5), Portland Trailblazers (13-2), Oklahoma City Thunder (9-3) and San Antonio (13-1) on the same trip. That will reveal the true identity of Indiana.
Until then, respect the record and let the boys play basketball.