At the beginning of the season, the Pacers looked to have a specific goal in mind: have the best record in the eastern conference so that when it comes time to play Miami in the playoffs, home court belongs to Indiana. I like the plan from the start. Try to have as much advantage over the Heat as possible when the inevitable rematch happened. As the season went on, things seemed to favor Indiana. Miami was facing some injury problems and fatigue seems to have brought their championship-level defense down a notch. But after a stellar first half the season, Indiana seems to have hit a rut that has no ending in sight. The Pacers appeared to have slowed down a bit just after the all-star break but the initial diagnosis was just a small slump. Then March came around and after turning things around (post 4 game losing streak), Indiana has lost 6 of their last 8 and have relinquished the top spot in the conference. Has Indiana essentially given the conference to Miami? Remember, the Heat haven’t been playing their best basketball as of late but still manage to have a better record than the Pacers heading into the homestretch. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s analyze the Indiana problem a bit. They were blown out by the scorching-hot Spurs last game but the two previous losses came against the Cavs and Wizards, two teams that they could very well see in the postseason. Where has the offense been for Indiana? I know defense is their staple but failing to break the 80-point barrier in three straight games is something college level teams struggle with, not an NBA team. Chemistry is clearly an issue as my multiple sources (still, just Twitter) have confirmed that the problem is most likely internally. And when a team is imploding from the inside out, it always hits rock bottom before they see any real daylight. Maybe this is rock bottom for Indiana. A home game against a bad Pistons team should be just what the Pacers need. Only four games until a big showdown in Miami that looks like it will decide the top seed in the conference.
Crucial action last night in the NBA. Unfortunately for Mavericks fans, like myself, around the country, it was not a good night of basketball. The Warriors were in Dallas to square off against the Mavericks in a massive game that had lots of implications in the lower half of the western conference playoff picture. Only a game and a half separated these two teams and within that margin, four different spots in the conference were affected. Stephen Curry’s go-ahead shot with .1 seconds left was heartbreaking for Dallas, but exhilarating for Golden State fans, as their team inches towards securing a playoff spot. I’m not going to sit here and complain about Jermaine O’neal and his obvious goal-tend just before that play. The referees were a bit spotty throughout the game and it was only a matter of time before a crucial call didn’t go in favor of the Mavericks. It’s just a shame that such a good game was influenced by such a crucial call. Honestly, it’s just a shame that one of the top 9 teams in the western conference is going to be out the playoffs. One team that won’t be missing out will be Brooklyn, clinching a playoff spot last night after an impressive win over the Rockets. It was nice present for their home fans after the franchise suffered such an abysmal start. Could Brooklyn make some real noise in an eastern conference where no team looks entirely impressive? I’m a bit skeptical but a big win over their crosstown rival Knicks would sway me a bit. Out in the west, the Blazers had a nice win over the Lakers. Portland seems to have turned their late-season slump around as of late. Winners of four straight, led by Aldrige and Lillard, as they head down the homestretch. If those two have it going on full cylinders as the season ends, i’d be careful if I were on the other side of it. Don’t forget how crucial their home court can be in the playoffs.
There are thirteen total games tonight so expect some fireworks.View All Photos ›