Remember way back at the beginning of the NBA season when the Indiana Pacers were easily setting the pace in the east and in the league? No doubt they do too.
At first glance, their 53-23 mark looks great on the surface. They are only percentage points (.006 as of now to be exact) behind the Miami Heat for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers at 53-23 is comparable to Syracuse when they were 26-3. The Orange still had a very strong record, but it didn’t have the same sheen to it when you consider the fact that they had started 25-0. In both cases the timing of when the losses began to occur indicate that the teams weren’t performing at the same level they had all season.
The Pacers were the ones who fired the first shots of the season by saying that they wanted the No. 1 seed so they could have a possible Game 7 against Miami at home if it came to that.
They fired out of the gates to a fast start (16-1) and looked poised to easily back up all of the talk. Yet Miami has always been right on their heels and have overtaken them for the moment atop the East.
It’s gut check time for the Pacers and they are at the point where everything is having to be examined as the playoffs draw closer. There’s still time to get things worked out.
Unlike Syracuse the Pacers will have to be beaten in a series, not a one game scenario. They may get the No. 1 seed, they may not. Either way they will have to start playing better basketball. The playoffs also mean a fresh start, a reset button, if you will.
That could be what Indiana needs most.