The Indiana Pacers are sitting atop the Central Division. The New York Knicks are looking over their shoulders at the Pacers, who are just 1 1/2 games back for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers have been model citizens on and off the court. Three players -- Roy Hibbert, George Hill and Paul George -- purchased season tickets for select fans to attend every home game for free.
But where are the paying customers?
Fans said they wouldn't return until there was both a competitive team on the court and a roster of players whose off-court behavior did not include visits to strip clubs.
The Pacers followed suit by cleaning house and putting together a team the city would embrace.
The Pacers are still waiting on them to hold up their end of the bargain.
Look around Bankers Life Fieldhouse when teams other than Miami, Chicago or the Los Angeles Lakers are in town.
There are lots of empty green seats in the building even though the Pacers bring a 15-game home winning streak into Friday's game with Toronto.
About the only green owner Herb Simon wants to see is the kind with Ulysses S. Grant and Benjamin Franklin on it.
The slogan goes, "In 49 states, it's just basketball. But this is Indiana." That must be a reference to the Indiana Hoosiers rather than the Pacers, who continue to be among the NBA bottom feeders in attendance. They are currently 26th in the NBA, averaging 14,592 fans in a building that seats 18,165.
The Pacers have had just four sellouts this season; opening night, both Miami games and against Chicago earlier this week.
While they have increased attendance by 1,320 fans a game from last season, that's still not enough.
"It's very disappointing," Pacers guard and Indianapolis-native George Hill said. "The fans show up when we play the marquee teams, but they show up wearing the marquee team's clothes. We feed off them. As much as we can get people there, the better off we're going to be."
Fans had every right to stay from the fieldhouse during what Larry Bird admitted was a long rebuilding period. The Pacers were an embarrassment at times to the city. The problems ran the gamut from guns and strip clubs to hanging with people wanted on murder charges.
Having to call Pacers media relations guru David Benner during the early morning hours after the Pacers had yet another run-in with the law got old pretty quick.
Those days have become distant memories.
The Pacers are headed back to the playoffs for the third straight season with players who care about the community.
"That's what bothers me," Hill said. "We're doing the right thing. We're staying out of trouble, being positive role models in the community. Just like when we're out in public, fans want autographs and pictures. What do we get out the deal?"
Even always-upbeat coach Frank Vogel has noticed the lack of attendance.
"I'm hopeful that all you Pacers fans sitting at home watching on TV start coming out and seeing us because this is a special team that we're putting together here," he said after only 12,578 showed up for Tuesday's victory over Atlanta. "We're playing at a special level, and I look forward to seeing those crowds start getting up."
It's no secret that times are tough around the economy. The Pacers understand that, too. They have offered a variety of ticket promotions this season. Some have featured such heavy discounts that the tickets have been close to free.
Overall, the Pacers' average ticket price is 60 percent less than the league norm, according to data compiled by the Pacers.
"I would love to go to more games, but would prefer not to sit in the balcony," Eric O'Hair of Crawfordsville, Ind., wrote in an email. "The club level seems too overpriced and the Pacers should realize this by now. We live in a 'blue-collar state' and they are charging 'white-collar prices.' The business formula is simple and they are not following it. If (they) can't sell the tickets, drop the prices."
Renny Harrison, owner of FanFare tickets in Carmel, said he usually has dirt cheap tickets for sale when the Pacers aren't playing one of the league's heavyweight teams.
There are upper-level tickets starting at $5 for the Feb. 13 game against Charlotte. Lower level tickets are available for as low as $12.
"Unfortunately when it's a week night game against a team that nobody cares about, people tend not to go," Harrison said. "We would love to sell more tickets just like the Pacers would love to have more people show up. It's unfortunate."
The Colts season is over. IU, Butler and Purdue only play a couple of times a week
It's time to get on the bus.
The Pacers have done their job.
Now it's up to the fans to get on, too.