The Indiana Pacers suffered a loss in Game 2 not entirely dislike the loss suffered in Game 1 of their 2011 NBA Playoffs series against the Chicago Bulls. In each game, the Pacers improbably hung around with a multi-possession lead, only to watch Derrick Rose take over late and ice the game in the closing minutes. (Doubles off of Kyle Korver in the corner were also inexplicably involved.)
But as a result of sticking with the league's best team during the regular season, Pacers fans have found reason to be optimistic heading into Game 3 in Indianapolis. From Indy Cornrows:
The Indiana Pacers are having themselves quite an interesting coming out party, where in losses, they're slowly gaining the respect of the NBA. They've done so by doing everything to win against the mighty Chicago Bulls except win.
And right now, that's okay, because they've already gone so much further in two losses to Chicago than most people thought they'd go in an entire series. It's not even a discussion on moral victories. This series sits at 2-0, but the Pacers haven't given up any ground. The series now shifts to Indianapolis, where the Pacers will play host to what is sure to be a far more lively and excited crowd than sat in shock at the United Center.
Cornrows is also (rightfully) excited by rookie Paul George's early defense on Rose; George forced the presumptive MVP into some bad turnovers and tough shots, and seems like a much better option to defend Rose than any guard on Indiana's roster.
Can Indiana win Games 3 and 4 to bring the series back to Chicago all knotted up? It'd be a stunning turn of events, but no more stunning than the Pacers having real chances to win the first two games.