Almost on cue, the Indiana Pacers went out there and surprised me the last couple of games. They earned their first win against a tough Boston Celtics team, 107-100, and then held on to beat the Pistons 111-101.
But despite the stellar showing, they remain only one game ahead of the gutsy Charlotte Bobcats at 34-42 with 6 games remaining in the season.
Note that the Pacers have already overtaken their horrific win total from last season (32), which was their worst in over 20 years. Now, if the Pacers win just 3 out of their last 6 games, they will finish the season at 37-45, which will be their best record since 2005-2006 (when they won 41 games and last made the playoffs).
That’s right. Despite all the supposed improvements and progress this team has been making (or so we’ve been told) over the last 3 or 4 seasons, the Pacers have not had much to show in the standings at all. Which is pretty sad, really.
But if this team can make the playoffs, which I think they will (see below), then at least that will give the fans something to get a little excited about. Sure, they’ll most likely get swept in the first round, but the experience will be invaluable as the team heads into the offseason with plenty of cap space.
Okay. With the Pacers winning against Detroit today to end a March where they went 8-10 (not bad if you factor in the 6-game losing streak from games 2-7), they remain just one game ahead of Charlotte, who also won in a close one against the Cavs.
The Pacers’ final 6 opponents are: Milwaukee, @New Orleans, Washington, Atlanta, New York, @Orlando.
The Bobcat’s final 8 opponents are: @Orlando, Washington, @Cleveland, Orlando, @Miami, Detroit, @New Jersey, Atlanta.
You can pretty much forget about Milwaukee because they’re too far behind.
With this Pacers team, you never know, but realistically the only win they SHOULD definitely get is Washington at home. The one against Milwaukee is a bit of a worry because they don’t match up well against that team, but the Bucks have been struggling.
To be honest, those are the only two games I see the Pacers winning for certain. That would be the worst case scenario though, and the Pacers will finish 36-46.
Now with the Bobcats, they might very well win the games against Washington, Cleveland, Detroit and New Jersey, four teams with nothing to play for. If they do, they will also finish 36-46, but the Pacers will have the tiebreaker because they won the head-to-head for the season.
But if the Bobcats can just get one more, or if the Pacers just one less, then the playoff drought will continue. It shouldn’t be like this, with the Bobcats having traded away Gerald Wallace and nursing a bunch of injuries to key players. Nevertheless, it’ll be a very interesting end to the season.
Let’s just hope the Pacers can pull through.