The Pacers are the only undefeated team left in the NBA at the start of this young season, and their biggest test to date came last night against their Central Division "rivals" the Chicago Bulls.
Prior to the season, Derrick Rose was asked about the Bulls' rivalry with the Pacers, and he said it didn't exist. Indiana ended up handling them at home in a tight-fought contest that got out of control in the fourth quarter. Chicago fell to 1-3, and Indiana improved to 5-0 -which is the first time their franchise has started the season with 5 wins.
Paul George, Indiana's franchise player talked about their division rivals. Many had predicted the Pacers might plateau after reaching the Conference Finals last season, and Chicago would emerge as a true contender with Rose back, but right now it's looking as if the Pacers are the team to beat, and Tom Thibodeau's crew has some soul-searching to do.
Excited after his team's big victory, which was an early season statement game, George says Chicago's time has passed, and "their success is the Michael Jordan era."
They have won three straight at home against the Bulls and four of the past five meetings overall.
“We want to step away from that shadow as the ‘little brothers’ of this division,” George told NBA.com. “Their success is the Michael Jordan era. This is a new age, this is a new team. It’s ours till they take it.”