The Indiana Pacers will have to wait another day to clinch up the Central Division. I made the bold prediction yesterday that this team would win and celebrate a title win in front of the sold out crowd. Things didn’t go as planned, and the Pacers sure didn’t look like a contender last night for anything. Those three days off must have messed with their heads as they couldn’t hit a three pointer if the goal was in the ocean and all other cliches about missing baskets. Don’t worry I got more cliches about what happened in that fourth quarter. This game never seemed to be in the Pacers’ favor at any point. Even getting that lead down to 2 points, I didn’t know if the Pacers could hold off the Thunder. They looked like the team that wanted to come out and win the division. They looked like they wanted to send a message to the NBA that this is their year. The Pacers meanwhile looked like they wanted to go this game over with. Even with a bad first half by Kevin Durant, and his slight injury at the end, the Pacers didn’t seem ready for this game
That fourth quarter REALLY hit home the point. That’s when the wheels fell off. Everything unraveled. They ran into a brick wall. They couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. That’s enough cliches for now about how bad that fourth quarter was for the Pacers. Want a stat to hammer it home? The Indiana Pacers as a team hit for 8 points, while Kevin Durant by himself went off for 15 points. That’s right he could have played the Pacers out there alone and would outscore them in the fourth quarter. That’s how bad it got for the team.
But luckily the Pacers will play a game tonight and can still clinch the division. This game last night does knock down my confidence a peg or two. For anyone that’s been reading my writing, you know my confidence in this team hardly wanes. But that game last night, and the possibility of what lies ahead could shake me up. It’s like the NCAA Tourney, where you want a team playing good into that tournament. If the Pacers aren’t playing at their A level now, what would we expect come playoff time? Tonight the Pacers HAVE TO win. They have to dominate a bad Washington Wizards team. They have to do all those things that were working so well. Play tough defense. Work the ball inside and out on offense. Get all those rebounds as they were fully out rebounded last night, which was surprising. Make all those hustle plays that a stat sheet won’t tell you. Once again the Thunder won in that category. If the Pacers can’t clinch up the division this evening, there might be some worry about where the team is headed. They still only need one Bulls’ loss, but the Pacers want to take this division into their own hands. They want to win it out on their own. That’s a goal for this team, and once that should be achieved tonight. My bold prediction went kaput last night, but tonight’s bold prediction should hold true as long as the Pacers play to their game. Play at that level we saw during the four game West coast trip. Play at that level we’ve seen in a couple of games against Miami. Those glimpses have shown that this Pacers team can be a contender. But time is running out to prove that. Division title tonight. Then let’s see what happens come playoff time.