The strange narratives surrounding the Indiana Pacers these playoffs

With the Indiana Pacers enjoying a recent unexpected wave of success, now is a good time to look at the strange narratives surrounding the team recently.
New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Four
New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Four / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

The Indiana Pacers are two wins away from their first Conference Finals appearance in a decade, and certain people are not happy with it.

In the regular season, as the Pacers racked up one of the most historically efficient offenses in NBA history, they certainly had their doubters. In the first month or so of the season, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who thought Indiana's fast-paced style would translate to the rest of the season. Many had the Pacers' offense regressing, however that never happened. Indiana finished with the sixth-highest-scoring offense in NBA history and the highest-scoring offense in 40 years.

As the playoffs started, the consensus among NBA fans was that the Pacers would be a first-round exit due to their supposed lack of defense and so-called one-dimensional offense, with the jokes about Indiana being a regular season fluke coming out in full force after their Game 1 loss in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, for some fans, as the Pacers stringed together three straight wins and eventually won the series in six games, the narrative switched to Indiana only winning because of injuries to the Bucks.

This narrative has been pushed even further in the second round, as with the Knicks' roster depleted, the Pacers have taken full advantage and won Games 3 and 4, with the second game being won by 32 points to tie the series 2-2. Despite taking care of business and beating the team put in front of them, the Pacers have been treated as if they are the cause of all these injuries and should perhaps lay down for the injured Knicks as a sign of respect.

Injuries suck, and the Pacers will be the first team to tell you that. Over the last decade or so, Indiana had to watch players like Paul George, Victor Oladipo, and even Tyrese Haliburton go down with severe injuries.

Unfortunately, there is nothing anyone can do about it. A team can only play what's in front of them, and the Pacers can do nothing more than play the Knicks team that is in front of them and hope the injured players are doing okay as they heal up.

Unfortunately, this may not even be the most annoying narrative surrounding the Pacers, as, after a quote by Bobby Portis after Game 2 of the first-round series against Milwaukee went viral, the Pacers have also been given the label of 'frontrunners.' To put it bluntly, this means that they only celebrate when they are winning, and are quiet when they are down.

To put it bluntly, this is a terrible narrative, as by that logic, every single team and player is a frontrunner. With the Pacers' roster being full of young, relatively inexperienced players, especially in the playoffs, it is very understandable that they are excited to win playoff games, especially as they inch closer to a Conference Finals appearance.

Additionally, the Pacers are in a lose-lose situation no matter what they do. If they celebrate while up, they are 'frontrunners.' However, if they celebrate while they're down, people will tell them to look at the scoreboard. Pacers players cannot do anything without getting criticized, so at this point, they are better off celebrating as much as they want to anger as many people as possible.

As the Pacers rack up more and more success, it has been interesting to see the attempts to discredit them get more and more desperate. What started off in NBA fans' eyes as a fun regular-season team, has now turned into a genuine playoff juggernaut, and people are clearly not used to it.


If the Pacers continue this momentum and make the Eastern Conference Finals, the takes will most likely get worse, but at that point, there will be no point in putting any merit into them, as most of them are pretty pathetic attempts to cope from fans of other teams.