Pacers get it done on defense
The Pacers allow 89 points a game second in the NBA. Opponents shoot 42 percent. "First of all, we have good guys who care," says assistant coach Jim Boylen. "We're able to hold them accountable. There is a lot of pride [involved] on the defensive end and we usually control the things we can control. Our edge and our toughness are always pretty good."
Getting a glimpse of the future
Last summer, Utah's Gordon Hayward and Cleveland's Kyrie Irving were two of 13 young players selected to work against U.S. national team as it prepared for the Olympics. Irving is an All-Star this season, which doesn't surprise Hayward: "He's extremely talented. He's fast, can shoot and he has a really good handle on the basketball."
Corbin knew not to panic
After a 107-96 loss to the Clippers in Dec. 30, the Jazz were only 15-17. Was coach Tyrone Corbin worried? "We were concerned about where we were and what was going on," he said. "But there's a lot of season left at that point, so you shore up some things and try to get better. You don't panic. You just make sure you know what's going on."
McHale a big fan of Big Al
Kevin McHale coached Jazz center Al Jefferson for two seasons in Minnesota. McHale remains a big fan. Told recently that Utah coaches have praised Jefferson's leadership in the locker room this season, McHale smiled and said, "If you are innately a good person, you are normally a good teammate and Al is a great guy. A great guy. Salt of the earth."