You look over the regular season of the Indiana Pacers, and you have to at least feel good about where they ended up. Sure, they had that mini breakdown from February on, but look at the big picture details of this season. Division title? Check. Top seed in the Eastern Conference? Check. Multiple All-Stars? Check. Best home record? Check. Those aspects of this season do outweigh the negatives of this season. But for fun, let’s break down the season into different aspects: good, bad, and ugly.
Win the division title
What does every team hope to accomplish? A division title win, and guess what, the Indiana Pacers did that. For a second straight year, the Pacers are tops in the division. Winning by a good margin as well thanks to that strong start they had. I said it would probably be around 7 games for the margin of games and the Pacers end up winning the division by 8. (yes, it probably should have been more, but, a division win is a division win)
Gain the top spot in the Eastern Conference
What was the mindset of the Indiana Pacers all this season? Win the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Mission accomplished, and now it’s time to prove why they earned that top spot come playoffs time. I think you could have viewed this season as an utter collapse if the Pacers lost that top spot to the Miami Heat. But look at where the teams finished. The Pacers have that edge of home court advantage, and now they hope to use that to their advantage.
Finish near the top in defense
Allowing 92 points per game isn’t too shabby at all. We all know the Indiana Pacers pride themselves on defense, and I did have a hard time believing they could hold their opponents under 90 on the season. It’s a bit of a letdown that they lost that top spot in the points allowed, but I am sure any team would be happy to only give up 92 points per game.
Best home court record
It’s easy to remember those home losses as the team only suffered 6 of them. I remember the first one to the Detroit Pistons and I’ll remember that one to the Atlanta Hawks.
Multiple All Stars ( and possible All Star Snub)
Any team would be happy to have one All Star, and the Pacers nabbed two, probably should have been three. Paul George ends up as one of the top vote getters in the whole league. That goes to show the progress he’s made this season.
Wins in San Antonio and Atlanta for the first time in a while
You lose so many times in a city that it gets tough remembering when you last won there. For the Pacers, San Antonio and Atlanta have been tough cities to play in, but they were able to knock off those streaks. Even doing it in big fashion with a double figures win in San Antonio.
Win against Detroit after being down 25 in the first half
What a turnaround in this game for the Indiana Pacers. They were down 19 at halftime, and you just thought if they could chip away, there would be a chance to steal it. The Pacers were such a strong second half team most of the season, you had that faith they could make some comeback bid, and they did.
Reserves 2 Wins in the Regular Season
Frank Vogel gave his starters the night off a week ago against Milwaukee, and the reserves pick up a win. It had to feel good for Chris Copeland to hit that layup to win the game as he’s not had many minutes out there. Last night’s win provided just another chance for some of the bench guys to get their feet going and show what they can do. How about 19 points for Rasaul Butler? 19 points for Chris Copeland. 12 points for Lavoy Allen. Some of the guys that just don’t get as many minutes as they probably would like. The team put up 101 points in last night’s win.
Month of March (8-10)
Yes, there was a slump after January 1st, but to me, when you look big picture, it was definitely just a slump during the month of March. That’s where you saw the big losing streaks, and that chipping away of the ego of the Indiana Pacers. The Bobcats and Cavs beat up on the Pacers pretty good in this month. The team really struggled on both sides of the ball, which leads into the second point of this bad section.
2nd in Points Allowed
All year, the Indiana Pacers were there as the best in defensive scoring. Then I look up the stats, and I see the number 2 listed next to the team. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that the Chicago Bulls had taken over that top spot. Not that I believed the Pacers could keep up that defensive intensity by allowing under 90 points, but you had to assume they would be that top spot.
24th in Points Per Game
The defense is the calling card of the Indiana Pacers, but there are times, you need to score. There can’t be those long lulls of not scoring when it comes to the playoffs, especially against a team like the Miami Heat, where they were able to put together a 16-0 run that put the last game between the two out of place. I know this team isn’t going to be tops in offensive scoring, but you’re probably going to have to put up some 100 point games, and we’ll have to see if the Pacers can do that come playoff time.
Paul George’s Decline
There’s no doubt that Paul George has fallen off the radar. Just think in January when he was still listed as one of the top MVP candidates. Now he’s not even close to it, but you know, thank Lebron James and Kevin Durant for separating themselves as well. It was probably a two man race all year, but it would have been nice to see Paul George at least in that conversation. He’s going to have to turn it around and carry the Pacers if they want to succeed in the playoffs like they should. Getting that scoring averaging back up around 23 or 24 points a game should be on his mind. Shooting the ball better can only improve that area.
Atlanta Loss on April 6th
That loss is definitely fresh in the mind as it was just a couple of weeks ago, and now the Indiana Pacers have to face that Atlanta team. Talk about motivation. Maybe that’s a good thing, the Pacers took that beating, so they can focus that energy into taking care of the Hawks in quick fashion.
Roy Hibbert’s Breakdown
I’ve given up on solving this as I just know that Roy Hibbert has to come around to some better version of himself to give the Pacers a great shot at riding the wave of the playoffs. He was so strong last year, and it’s hard telling that will happen this year. He just needs to keep his head up and keep looking for the basket. If that’s not working, just dig in on the defensive end and help the team in that area. Whatever avenue he can take to help the team, he’s got to do it. That’s all I can say for Roy Hibbert at this point.
Tags: Indiana Pacers