From now until the end of the Indiana Pacers' season, the year shall be split into two parts. Before Bynum. After Bynum. Throughout the "B.B." months, the Pacers performed as the best defense and often, simply the best team in the NBA. There were complications, like sloppy ball handling and overpassing on the offensive end that could become an Achilles' heel in the future. However, for the vast majority of the first 46 games, the Pacers played well enough to overcome such carelessness as they did on Saturday night for the 97-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets. "Obviously we didn't play our best game," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "We weren't playing well offensively." Still, it was on this night that the Pacers (36-10) closed the "B.B." chapter with their first four-game series sweep of the regular season. All five starters reached double figures and in spite of a season-worst 24 turnovers, other strengths — like the team's 86.5 free-throw percentage and trustworthy defense — created a victory when a loss might have been more appropriate. "It feels good," George Hill said, "when you win a game like that when you know you're not supposed to win it." Now, what happens tomorrow and every coming day until the Pacers end the year in celebration or bitter disappointment will be the "A.B." era. The Pacers will try to integrate their newest 7-1 weapon seamlessly and figure out how to get their once out-of-work acquisition right just as the team has learned to win even as the bench plays worrying stretches of rhythm-free basketball. In other words, every potential challenge in the "A.B." months will be defined as how Andrew Bynum becomes part of the team and the Pacers keep the focus on just that — the team.
Sloppy Pacers manage to nip Brooklyn 97-96
Indianapolis Star | Feb 2