Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 2/2/12
Rick Carlisle still keeps close tabs on his previous team, and the Dallas Mavericks coach thinks the Indiana Pacers are legitimate contenders. The Pacers go for a season-high fourth straight victory Friday night when they look to win in Dallas for the first time in eight seasons. Carlisle's stint with Indiana (15-6) from 2003-07 included a 61-win campaign his first season. He maintains a close relationship with Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird and spent two seasons coaching current star forward Danny Granger. Indiana has not had a winning season since Carlisle's team went 44-38 in 2004-05. This edition of the Pacers is poised to end that skid, getting off to the franchise's best start since the 2003-04 team. "They've got all the ingredients of championship teams - they've got athleticism, length, skill and size," Carlisle told the Pacers' official website. "They're going to be a major factor." The addition of former All-Star David West to complement a frontc...
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