April 03, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard George Hill (3) gestures after a three point basket against the New York Knicks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated New York 112-104. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

April Stretch Run Brings May Playoffs

Maybe the NBA season does need to be at 66 games because it’s hard to believe how quickly this season has flown by, and here we are right in the final month of the season. The Pacers have exceeded the expectations I believe fans set for them, and even some fans are not totally sold on this team. But let’s take a look at where they’ve come from and what the schedule holds for them in this final month.

The beginning of this season started off with a bang as the Pacers lost just six games through the end of January and things were looking great. It was so important to pick up as many wins there in that first part of the season as the next part would go to test this team.

Febuary came and went with a five game losing streak punched in there, but looking back at that month, the Pacers ended up with a winning record. Surprisingly, I didn’t think about that at the time, and was concerned with how that losing streak would effect the time. In hindsight, with the way the Pacers are sitting now, that wasn’t a terrible thing to happen. And it actually came to teams with winning records such as the Heat.

Then the Pacers went into the end of the month riding a six game losing streak before hitting a four game skid. That was the thing that worried me about this team, it’s hard to get that momentum going, and when you think they turn a corner, they might hit a bad loss. The Heat and Hawks were part of that previous losing streak and part of this small one. Also the Bulls torched the Pacers in a third quarter to pick up a win by 20 to redeem themselves from the previous meeting where the Pacers took care of the Bulls.

March was the first losing month of the season for the Pacers, but even then it was right at 8-9, so that’s not a bad thing at all. For me, the losses to the Knicks stand out at first. But then you look at the comeback that happened this week, and those Knick losses don’t feel as bad. Also in March, the Pacers got a win against the Heat after getting blown out twice, and losing in overtime by two on a lucky Dwayne Wade shot, so that was a good win for the team.

This week has been good with the rally in Houston to come back and win, then the 17 point come back win against the Knicks, and then taking care of the Wizards. A team that Indiana has struggled against, and still won against. Tonight is a huge test as Oklahoma City makes a visit, the best team going right now. If the Pacers can keep it close, I would be fine with a loss here. But then tomorrow night, take care of business against the Celtics.

The rest of the season shapes up nicely for the Pacers as they face the 76ers a couple of times. They play the majority of this stretch against sub .500 teams, so they should look for wins there. Right now sitting at 33-21, I’m going to say this team finishes with at 42 wins. I’ll go out with that prediction as it’s hard to see why they would loss against some of this competition.

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