The Indiana Pacers-- The World Champs.. of resiliency
The Indiana Pacers have tied the Miami Heat 2-2 in their Eastern Conference Final. The Pacers may still lose this series, with 2 of the last 3 to come at Miami-- but the Pacers have won a whole lot more.
1. The Pacers have won... respect. Coming into this series, people weren't sure what to make of the Pacers-- this group of no-names who play without their top star, Danny Granger, who is out of the lineup due to injury. The no-names have made names of themselves-- Stephenson, Hill, Hibbert, and especially Paul George. The Heat have first-name stars-- LeBron, Dwayne, Chris, and more
2. The Pacers have won... resiliency. The Indiana Pacers are the world champs of bouncing back. They lose Game 1 in dramatic fashion, but win game 2. The Pacers lose Game 3 at home, but win Game 4. That is the mark of a good team
3. The Pacers have won...old school. Not many SportsCenter highlights here, but Colin Cowherd on ESPN's "The Herd" said it best. Rebounding and defense can get you a long way in the NBA playoffs.
3. The Pacers have won... the hearts and minds of Indiana fans-- at least for now.. We are a fickle bunch, and in this state, most of the time your high school and college afiliation means more to you than the Pacers-- usually. But the bandwagon is pulling into the station for teh Pacers, and there is ample time to get on board.
4. Finally, the Pacers have won the anticipation battle for next year. They did this playoff run without Danny Granger. With Granger, the Pacers-- along with a healthy Chicago Bulls team, and the Miami Heat, and the New York Knicks-- have restored the roar to the top of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
All in all, the Pacers may win this series-- and they may lose it. Even if they lose to the Heat this year, they have already won-- big time.
That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.