The noise keeps getting louder, the adulation grows deeper and the Indiana Pacers just can’t fill the role as the scrappy little guys anymore. Now, there are no blinders big enough for this new spotlight. Not after the Pacers gutted out a 96-91 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night and earned their seventh straight victory. With the win, the Pacers (7-0) secured the best start in franchise history — even dating back to the ABA. These Pacers are the last remaining unbeaten team in the NBA, so although coach Frank Vogel continues to tell the locker room to block out all the praise, that could be impossible. Now, the underdog days are over. “Yeah, it is,” forward Paul George said in agreement. “(But) I feel like we’re still going to get that underdog feeling or the media’s still going to think that we’re not ready.” “We’re a focused group. We know how special we can be.” The victory came in front of an announced sold-out Barclays Center crowd, where the activity and energy around the arena matches anything the 2-4 Brooklyn Nets have done on the court this year. A crush of reporters, fitting for a playoff game, listened in as Vogel tried to preach temperance — “I have talked to our guys about everybody in the world is going to be telling you how good you are. (Don’t) listen to it. Stay hungry,” he said. Nevertheless, winning builds buzz. That underdog indignation Roy Hibbert so infamously flashed during his Eastern Conference Game 6 press conference is so last year. “Are they watching now? I don’t know,” Hibbert said, laughing. “Everybody’s giving us their best fight and we’re ready to take it. Weather the storm.” That’s a phrase Hibbert likes to repeat when the Pacers face their toughest times. And on Saturday night, each starter experienced his own stormy moment. George once again led the Pacers with 24 points and showed the touch for back-to-back big jump shots midway through the fourth quarter to extend Indiana’s lead to nine points.
Pacers keep record immaculate with 96-91 road victory over Brooklyn
Indianapolis Star | Nov 10