We’re heading into April, when the NBA is supposed to heat up and everyone starts to get excited. For the first time in five years, the Indiana Pacers are on track to make the playoffs. And yet, I can’t get my blood pumping.
Is there any doubt these Pacers are the most frustrating team in the league? A team capable of beating the best teams in the NBA on the road, but also capable of losing to the worst teams at home (and losing badly, might I add). They flirt with the playoffs, then play themselves into the lottery, then are miraculously gifted the 8th seed, but are now doing everything they can to play themselves out of it.
A stunning 111-88 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats gave the Pacers the knockout blow they needed, giving them a full 3 game lead over their nearest rival. With Milwaukee falling apart and New York in a dramatic slump, it was possible that the Pacers could even catch up to the Knicks and the 7th seed.
But is anyone surprised that the Pacers then promptly went out and lost the next two games, in appalling fashion, against the Sacramento Kings (at home) and the Detroit Pistons (on the road)?
All this time they talk, talk and talk, but their actions betray their words. They talk about tightening up the defence, but continue to give up 100+ points just about every game. They talk about overcoming slow starts, but they continue to fall behind early against just about every opponent. They talk about making the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league, but…well, that’s just laughable at the moment.
Even with the Bobcats effectively throwing away their season (by trading Gerald Wallace) and with Stephen Jackson playing on half a leg, the Pacers can’t put their fans at ease. The Pacers, 32-42, are now just one game ahead of the Bobcats, who have gone on to shock both Boston and New York in consecutive games.
Next up is Boston, a team the Pacers could very well meet in the first round. I don’t like their chances, but then again, you just never know with this squad.