But still, I can't help but feel optimistic about the remainder of the season.
I'm just loving what I'm seeing from this team right now. All guts, all hustle. Even against a vastly superior, significantly more talented team, the Pacers never gave up. They closed the talent gap between the two teams by putting in a tremendous effort at both ends of the floor.
Get this: the Pacers were outscored 41-17 in the first quarter behind an insane D-Wade at his very best (41 points, 12 rebounds all up). And yet the Pacers came all the way back and even took the lead a couple of times in the second half, only to again falter down the stretch thanks to big plays from Miami's Big Three (who combined for 90 of the team's 110 points). There wasn't much the Pacers could do.
Great to see Paul George and Tyler Hansbrough playing like the future of this team. George had 14 points and 5 rebounds and Hansbrough had 16 and 5. George is a rookie, Hansbrough is practically a rookie. Collison and AJ Price are second year players. Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush are third year players. The future is very bright indeed.
Frank Vogel was proud of his guys after the game, and rightly so. "I'm proud of our guys," he said. "This is what I'm talking about when I talk about smashmouth basketball, blood and guts, never quitting. All heart, all hustle."
Darn right. And Hibbert's confidence has definitely not waned after another stellar effort (18 points, 7 rebounds): "The rest of the season, we're coming. We're not backing down. We're not having any lackadaisical games. We're on the prowl. We're hungry."
Go Pacers! It's time for another winning streak. Up next: @Detroit, @Washington, Detroit.