The Indiana Pacers (12-9) have had better teams in the past but they’ve never been more fun than this.
Just watch this video. Feel the joy. Buy a home or rent an Airbnb in this lovely neighborhood.
Indiana’s never had more enjoyment from watching the Pacers than with this underdog group of running, gunning, have fun-ing bunch. Almost every game at the Fieldhouse turns into a house party.
The fun all starts with Lance Stephenson, who has averaged over 17 points per game in his last three and has added five assists and eight rebounds in consecutive games.
Stephenson is the Pacers prodigal son, who languishes outside of Indiana when he’s not wearing the blue and gold and thrives in Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. He dances and inspires dances. He prances. He plays air guitar. He high-fives the crowd. He head-butts stanchions.
“Coach is doing a good job of letting me play through mistakes,” Stephenson said after tonight’s party of a win against the Orlando Magic. “He lets me be me.”
The Pacers fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything that Lance does elicits a louder reaction than if someone else would have done the same. So when he does something special as has been the case often lately, it feels like the roof may collapse.
But the Pacers are this fun for more than just Lance reasons.
Victor Oladipo made his first 11 shots tonight, which included maybe five heat checks that all went in. It got to the point where even he didn’t know what was happening after banking in a 3-pointer.
Domantas Sabonis continues to be gift from the basketball gods, (mostly the god of European big men Arydvas Sabonis). He scored 19 points while taking just seven shots, added eight rebounds and five assists. That crazy play by Lance wouldn’t have been possible without his expert cut at just the right time.
“I don’t know. It just happens,” Domas said of his on-court play with Lance, “… He understands me. It’s just chemistry.”
The Pacers other stud young big man, Myles Turner, was no slouch tonight either as he scored 18 points in the first three quarters, being unleashed from long range with five attempts and three makes. He nearly had four made 3-pointers but his toes were on the line on one attempt.
“The thing I love about this team is that we never stop competing,” Turner said.
Every game is non-stop effort from the Pacers. They may lose some games, but as Turner said, they’re always competing. Whether they’re down 22 in the third quarter or having just lost a lead at the start of the fourth quarter like tonight.
The Magic were up one briefly in the fourth quarter. Then the Pacers went on a 23-5 run.
The Pacers aren’t just a one-man show these days. Anybody is capable of a huge night to lift the team, Bojan Bogdanovic continues to show a more all-around offensive game than many expected, Thad Young is the glue guy, Darren Collison is capable of occasional 30-point nights. They play together and as a unit. They care about each other off the court.
These Pacers are modern. These Pacers are always looking to run. These Pacers love to play together. The Pacers have never been more fun.