Winning basketball games against the rest of the NBA at large hasn't exactly been the Indiana Pacers' forte thus far this season. Against the 27 other teams that didn't make the 2008 NBA Finals, the Pacers are 5-10 this season.
But bring those finalists to town, and Jim O'Brien's boys become a completely different team.
Celts fans won't soon forget the shellacking the Pacers administered on the first Saturday night of the season when the green came out sluggish. But the good news is that our boys are no longer alone in the stunned-by-Indiana department. Hello, purple and gold!
Instead of the end-to-end pasting they laid on the Celts, the Pacers decided to wait until the final period to break out the magic on Tuesday. They gave up 17 straight points to head into the fourth quarter trailing by 15 to what was the league's only remaining one-loss team.
No longer. Indy dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Lakers by a 32-16 count, and they won it in as dramatic a fashion as possible: a tip from Troy Murphy that bounced on the rim and then dropped in just as the red light went on to signal the game's conclusion. Murphy finished with 16 points and 17 boards, and Danny Granger poured in 32 points.
In addition to the loss, it's hard to imagine this one will help the Lakers jump back ahead of the Celts in defensive efficiency, where the green recently reclaimed the top spot.
Kudos to the Pacers for a big performance. Here's hoping the Lakers got them nice and tired for their upcoming trip to the TD Banknorth Garden later tonight.