April 9, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard George Hill (3) scores a basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Cleveland 99-94. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs 2013: Indiana Pacers Look To Contend

Pacer fans have been wondering where this Pacers team is headed. On the slide they are on, losing five out of the past six, you have so many questions about what the Pacers can do in the playoffs.  Can they find their defense?  Can Paul George continue his impressive play?  Can the Pacers use their big men to a big advantage?  Can the bench hold a lead for the team?  Going into the post season a few weeks ago, these weren’t huge questions.  But now they are.  The Pacers haven’t looked like that team that could contend against Miami for the Eastern Conference Title.  They’ve looked like a team that just wants to be done, and that’s not the way they should be looking.

They should be coming together with that passion that was shown throughout the season.  That joy of playing together for each other.  We have seen so many glimpses of that, and this playoff run will be dependent upon that.  I know that the guys here want to win.  You know they enjoy playing with each other just by the interaction on the bench.  Something has been missing, but hopefully the new start of the post season will be bring together that focus.  It can sweep away those bad losses if the team can make that run to the Conference Finals.  That should be the expectation for the Pacers.  Losing in that first round would be a HUGE disappointment.  Losing in the second round could be up there in disappointment, but if the team makes it to the Conference Finals, and competes, the season does mean something.  There will still be good things to take away from the team, but who knows if you feel as good.

The time will start Sunday at 1:00 for the Pacers to begin their playoff quest.  It’s against a team they should be able to handle in the Atlanta Hawks. I would look for Paul George to step up his game as he’s said this team will be ready come Sunday. I look for David West to be as strong as he has been.  He’s got some playoff experience, and could really lead the team just like he can.  Roy Hibbert needs to continue his emergence, and the Pacers need to look to him and use that to their advantage.  We’ll see in that game one how ready the Pacers are for the playoffs.  It’s been a up and down roller coaster for the season, but now the ride really picks up.

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