NBA Playoffs: The Indiana Pacers Must Win Their Next 2 Home Games
Game 2 was close throughout the entire game, until the Knicks went on a tear in the fourth quarter, where they outscored the Pacers 33-13 in the deciding period.
Although the Pacers did win Game 1 on the road, it was still a tightly contested game for the most part. In Game 2, they just couldn't get it done down the stretch, and their turnovers and bad shot-selection hurt them.
For the most part, the Pacers are a much better team at home than on the road. During the regular season, they compiled a 30-11 record at home, while going a mediocre 19-21 on the road.
The next two games in this second-round matchup will dictate the outcome of this series.
If the Pacers are able to secure both victories at home and maintain home-court advantage, then they will be up 3-1, and the Knicks will have very little chance of getting back into the series.
However, if the Knicks split the two games at Indiana and keep the series knotted at 2-2, then the series could go either way from there. The Knicks would steal back home-court advantage if they win a game in Indiana, and the Pacers cannot allow that happen if their struggles on the road continue.
The Pacers have the 19th best offensive efficiency in the league (perHollinger's Team Stats), which isn't really good at all. If their shots don't fall and they continue to turn the ball over at such a high rate like in Game 2 towards the end of the game, then they will be in for a long series.
Unlike the Knicks, the Pacers are less likely to go on spectacular runs or comebacks to take a huge lead or get back into the game. Their offense starts with their defense, and their slow-paced game doesn't mix well with a fast-paced offense.
While players like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith could put points on the board in a hurry, the Pacers cannot do that. They have to grind out every game, and it will be even harder to win on the road if the Knicks are on a shooting streak.
Furthermore, there have only been eight teams in NBA history who have come back from a 3-1 deficit, so the Pacers will be in a great position to advance to the Conference Finals if they can win the next two games.
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