INDIANAPOLIS — Kevin Durant plays for an Oklahoma City team that has faced some of the most talented teams in the Eastern Conference.
And as much as you hear about Chicago and Miami coming out of the East, Durant is part of a growing number of folks who see the Indiana Pacers as having that kind of potential as well.
"They have a great team," Durant said following the Thunder's 103-98 loss to the Pacers on Friday night. "They can stack up with anybody."
The Celtics can certainly attest to that, having lost two of the previous three games against the Pacers this season.
Boston is hoping to even up the head-to-head series tonight against an Indiana team that has yet to lose a game this month.
"I look at them, they're similar to us," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "They're just flying under the radar, not really given a lot of respect. They're playing well."
And while Danny Granger is arguably their best player, the Pacers strengths lies in their depth.
"We got nine, 10 guys deep on our bench that can come in and play," Granger said. "It's a luxury to have, that we have so many guys that are able to contribute."
Said C's coach Doc Rivers: "They're very difficult to prepare for. They used to be easier. Granger got 30 shots a game. You knew where the ball was going. He's tough to guard, but at least you had an idea. Now, they have two guys a night that could be different in leading them in scoring. That makes them very difficult to prepare for."
And while Granger's numbers have taken a dip this season - he's averaging 18.5 points, his lowest since the 2006-2007 season - it's clear that the lack of scoring isn't an issue.
"Winning cures that for most people, and some it doesn't," Rivers said. "Those are the ones you want to move."