This point is key. Last year's run will be remembered as the complete rebirth of the franchise. The lockout 2011-12 season certainly laid the seeds. That was when the Pacers became a very good team who won a lot of games and a playoff series before being competitive against Miami. However, the only team we eliminated in the playoffs that year was an Orlando team without Dwight Howard. Now it's certainly not our fault that he didn't play, but beating an Orlando team without their big star wasn't exactly the type of thing that generates an excess of buzz. But then last season we eliminated a 54 win Knick team who had been extremely hyped nationally. We did it in front of a huge national audience. Also, we were able to play on all of the old 90's Hicks-Knicks memories with Reggie. It was just the absolute perfect storm of getting fans back. People couldn't ignore a Pacer team who was whooping up on the Knicks. Then everything after that against Miami was complete icing on the cake. Last year's playoffs left people walking away thinking "wow, these Pacers are a very good team who have extremely likable players."
I think that the nasty wounds of 2004-2010 have finally healed. It took time, it wasn't easy, but we got there. Hell, just go back three years ago to December 2010 when we were still being tormented by Jim O'Brien. It's absolutely phenomenal just how quickly things have transformed in a very short period. In recent years, everything this franchise has touched has turned into complete gold. I guess that's what happens when Basketball Jesus gets to mold a team his way.