Mar 3, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) congratulates forward David West (21) after he scored a basket and was fouled by the Chicago Bulls at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Chicago 97-92. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers Seize Control of the Central Division

Thanks to a tough and gritty win last night, the Indiana Pacers have put themselves in prime position for their first division title in a decade.  This is a huge leap for a team that’s been right there in the playoffs the past couple of years, but really wanted to make noise this year.  There’s still 20some games to go, but the Pacers made sure to get that a good clamp on the division last night.  They now hold the tiebreaker edge over the Chicago Bulls and hold a 4 game lead.  Sure a tough stretch here and there could ruin that lead, but I feel strongly about this Pacers team.  They showed last night that they really wanted to separated themselves from the Bulls.  It felt like a playoff game, and the Pacers were able to carry themselves to a great win.

We can talk all we want who can take out the Miami Heat, but for this Pacers team, it’s so important to go one step at a time.  Getting the division title would be that first step.  They actually have a great record within the division at 9-2.  Those two losses came at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Pacers did pick up a win over that Bucks team.  They’re 3-0 against the closest competition the Chicago Bulls and can sweep the regular season series with a win later this month in Chicago.

Looking over the final games of the Pacers, this month features three divisional games and one more left next month, so they could really wrap up things there soon, and have a comfortable lead come April.  That would be huge, and should get some great recognition for a Pacers team that doesn’t seek it.  But us fans love to see the national media talking Pacers in the right sense.  A game left with the Bucks could be big to show that if come playoff time those teams meet, the Pacers are ready for the challenge.  That is a team that could be a match up problem for the Pacers as they were able to win two games over them early on.  But the Pacers turned it around in the third meeting, and won by double figures.  Get another double figures win against the Bucks and things look promising.

It’s all about doing the things this Pacers team has done all year.  Playing impressive defense and getting those baskets down the stretch when needed.  14 games left this month in which the Pacers can really put this division into their own hands, and with the way they’ve been playing, who doesn’t feel like that’s about to happen?

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Tags: Central Division Indiana Pacers

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