The Pacers recorded a major victory Tuesday night when they erased a 13-point deficit and defeated the Miami Heat.
It meant a few things actually.
It legitimated the Pacers' strong start to the season and proved that they are in the Heat's league. LeBron James may consider them a true rival, but he cannot deny the Pacers stand as the biggest impediment to a fourth straight trip to the Finals. They almost knocked the Heat off last year and they appear better this year.
They also served a small statement to the nation. Tuesday's game was the highest rated game in NBATV's history drawing in 920,000 viewers. Those numbers and the game's overall play should draw in even more viewers when the Pacers visit Miami next Wednesday.
Paul George is now a favorite to make the All-Star Game as a starter and the whole Pacers team is beginning to get some sort of crossover appeal.
Just take a look at Justin Timberlake's reaction to the Pacers trying to sing "Holy Grail" at Tuesday's game (h/t Eric Freeman of Ball Don't Lie):
The rendition from Danny Granger, who is still working his way back from injury by the way, is pretty awful. And then they love the Jay-Z part. Go figure.
Timberlake was playing Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a concert Wednesday night, and we know he is a basketball fan — he owns a small portion of the Grizzlies — so it is not a surprise that he decided to catch this Eastern Conference clash. It was not quite a Playoff atmosphere, but it was as big as a mid-December game gets.
The Pacers might become hip now as Timberlake was caugh playing Horse with Paul George after the game and reportedly sank several NBA 3-pointers in a row.
Welcome to pop culture, Pacers. And welcome to the big time again.
We look forward to your future dates with Miami. Enjoy the limelight once again Indiana.