Apr 11, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) looks over at Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers (15) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 98-86. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat: Who Gets the Top Spot?


The Indiana Pacers got some help last night from the Atlanta Hawks as they beat the Miami Heat, and now the top spot in the Eastern Conference is dead even.  You almost wonder if the Pacers or Heat want to clinch that top spot with the way neither one can control it?  Now the Pacers have the Conference back under their control in a way as long as they can win one game and the Heat lose one game.  Another way is just to win out for the Indiana Pacers.  You could have the Heat and Pacers BOTH lose out, but the Pacers would still win the Conference based upon a tiebreaker of conference record, and the Pacers have the best of that.

It’s crazy to think about how the Pacers are in control of their own fate after all the slump, collapse, falling apart, self-destruction, whatever name you want to give to it.  It’s also amazing to think that the team will close out the division with a possible 6 or 7 game lead, which is where I set the bar at the beginning of the season.  Granted, it was double figures there for a good chunk of the season, and I wanted to raise my number. But overall, I put the over/under at 7 games for the Pacers to win the division, and that’s where it should be when all the dust settles later this week.

Where will the Pacers be when it’s all said and done? I’m going to put it out there and say they’ll claim that top spot and achieve the goal they’ve talked about and talked about and talked about.  You can’t get away from the fact that so many times we’ve heard the Pacers want that top spot.  It’s like the usual in sports that once something is said and put out there, fans will hold you to it.  Just like a tweet or email or quote, you can’t take back words that are thrown out there.

Now the Indiana Pacers have a great chance at putting their season in their own hands.  Today’s going to be one tough matchup as they were clearly outplayed by the Oklahoma City Thunder last time these teams met. But you hope that the team can put all of their focus and energy into an effort at home on Fan Appreciation Night to beat the Thunder.

Put together those efforts that we’ve seen against quality opponents like the Spurs in San Antonio, where they finally got a win after all those regular season losses.  The comeback effort against Detroit where the team was down 19 at halftime and just turned things completely around.  The win at home against Miami just a couple of weeks ago, where it felt like do or die.  Today is in that same vein in my mind.

Get a win and put the pressure on Miami to get their own win tomorrow night.  Whenever you get to this point in the season, you want things in your own hands, and the Pacers have that opportunity. Time to put the pedal to the metal and race across the finish line.

Tags: Indiana Pacers