Negative: Letting them get close
This has been a recurring theme for Indiana's games against inferior teams. One of the main problems with the Pacers is that they do not seem to know their own strength.
On certain occasions, they will convincingly beat a top contender, and on other nights, they will be in dogfights with basement dwellers. The latter was the case on Friday for at least three quarters. After a promising first quarter, where they led by seven by the end, the Pacers would let up a bit in the second, giving up 37 points compared to their own 28, giving Detroit a two-point lead at the half.
The third quarter would bring more of this unnecessary back-and-forth, as the Pacers still couldn't seem to gain a clear advantage despite being the better team. They would go into the fourth quarter clutching onto a one-point lead.
Thankfully, the fourth quarter was when the Pacers realized who exactly they were facing and took over the game, but the point still stands. Indiana needs to make life easier on themselves and come out of the gates strong against these inferior teams.
A similar occurrence happened during the Utah Jazz game in early November, in which they kept the game needlessly close until the eventual fourth-quarter eruption.
As they are currently poised for a playoff run, the Pacers need to learn to avoid needlessly competitive games. The best offensive team in the league should not be in dogfights with basement dwellers, but instead, Indiana sometimes plays like they do not know what they are capable of, and make games closer than they probably should be.