Paul George and the Indiana Pacers took care of the Chicago Bulls in an impressive 97-80 win Nov. 6, but it sounds like the Central Division’s new alpha dogs aren’t going to be satisfied with one measly win.
The Pacers want to own an era.
Per Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, George laid it all out after Indy’s big victory:
"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.”
That’s some big talk from a 24-year-old, but George and the Pacers have proved they can back it up. The win over Chicago was just the latest example of the trend that had been developing since Derrick Rose went down 18 months ago.
Since that time, the Pacers have taken the last three meetings against Chicago in Indiana and four out of five altogether. Not only that, but Indiana came within a whisper of last year’s NBA Finals while the Bulls bowed out in the second round.
Granted, Rose wasn’t a part of Chicago’s 2012-13 season, which, up until this year, served as something of an asterisk on Indiana’s ascent. Most people viewed the Pacers as placeholders for the Bulls; a team that would surely relinquish its hold on the division as soon as D-Rose and his buddies got the band back together.
But now we know that Rose’s return hasn’t changed the new dynamic in the division. The Pacers aren’t interested in giving up control, no matter who suits up for the Bulls. The way Indy rocketed away from Chicago in the fourth quarter proved that.
Now, it’s the Bulls who are looking up at the Pacers.
Young, undefeated and boasting the league’s most dominant defense, Indiana is firmly in charge of the central division and will almost certainly pose the biggest playoff threat to the Miami Heat.
Your move, Chicago.