DALLAS -- After the way Indiana used an explosive second half Friday to destroy the Dallas Mavericks, forward Dirk Nowitzki had to tip his hat to the vaunted Pacers.
"They’re a very good team,'' Nowitzki said after the 98-77 loss to the Pacers at American Airlines Center. "That’s why they took the champs last year to a seven-game series and they had a chance to go to the (NBA) Finals.''
The Pacers lost the decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to Miami, 99-76, and the Heat went on to capture their third world championship over the past eight seasons.
But the Pacers played the Heat without forward/guard Danny Granger, who played just five games last season because of a knee injury. Indiana also added savvy veteran forward Luis Scola over the offseason.
"Like I said, they’ve been together for a long time, and now they’ll have Granger back soon and they’ve added Scola,'' Nowitzki said. "So this is a team that’s for real, and they showed us we need to improve in a lot of areas.''
-- Dwain Price
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