After their big win in Charlotte last week, things looked great for the Indiana Pacers, as they looked to get back into the playoffs this year. Now things seem to have taken a turn for the worse.
The Pacers somehow managed to get destroyed by the Sacramento Kings at home, then went up to Detroit and got beaten up by the Pistons. The two losses were even more significant as both the Bobcats and Bucks won on Friday night, and the Bobcats won again on Saturday. Those are the two teams that are chasing the Pacers down for that final playoff spot in the East.
The Pacers currently hold the final spot in the East by one game over the Bobcats, and by two games over the Bucks. The Bucks will travel to Charlotte for a big game tomorrow night, while the Pacers get to stay home, but face the Boston Celtics.
Indiana still has one game left against the Bucks later on, but right now they need to focus on stopping this slide. Realistically, they probably won't get the win Monday against the Celtics, so if the Bobcats beat the Bucks, it will put them back in a tie for the eighth seed. The Pacers do own that tie breaker, because they swept the season series with Charlotte.
For whatever reason, the Pacers are unable to beat teams with a worse record, yet find a way to beat some of the better teams out there. At times it seems like they don't have the energy or desire to win a close game. Most of their losses have come the same way; by getting blown out in one quarter.
Who will make the playoffs in the East?
That quarter lately has been the third one. In both of their games this weekend, they were relatively even in quarters one, two, and four. They get dismantled in the third, and find themselves in a huge hole entering the fourth.
The main focus here being able to play an entire 48-minute game and beat teams that have been killing them (Toronto, Minnesota, Detroit, Sacramento). While everyone would agree that this team has no chance of making it to the second round of the playoffs, we must remember that this is a very young team that really needs some post-season experience. If they are going to keep building with guys like Hibbert, Collison, and George, they will need to get a feel for playoff basketball in the NBA. It is very different from the regular season play that you see in November and December.
Tomorrow night is IMS Night at Conseco Fieldhouse, in honor of the IZOD IndyCar Series beginning their season today. Dario Franchitti won the race in St. Petersburg, and was just given his Indianapolis 500 ring by Pacers President Larry Bird a couple of weeks ago.
The Pacers and Celtics will tip off from Conseco Fieldhouse at 7:00 p.m.