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Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics

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Tick Tock.

No, not a misspelling of the social media app that I still don’t fully grasp.  That’s the time ticking on the Pacers season and the meaningful chances they have of turning it around.

There are 20 games remaining in the season and the Pacers currently sit at 34-28 and in the 8th spot of the Eastern Conference, looking like another year in the play-in game.  Needless to say, that’s not where the Pacers thought they would be nor where they should be.  They SHOULD be better than this.  Yet they have had the same issues follow them all season:  they can’t play a lick of defense and they keep losing to bad teams.

Three of the four worst teams in the NBA (Spurs, Trail Blazers, Wizards) have all beaten the Pacers.  They’ve also got losses to the Raptors, Hornets, Jazz and Grizzlies.  All teams well below .500.  It’s one thing to lose to a team here and there. It’s another to have so many losses against teams you should be beating.  The Pacers have shown that there is never a game they are truly ever in full control of.  The lack of defense can get them killed against good teams and allows the bad teams to stick around in games they normally would have no business to be in.

Now, the results are adding up and they aren’t that favorable for the Pacers.  Games that should have helped them pad their standings now sit in the loss column and truly tough games remain on the schedule. Twelve of their final 20 games are against teams with an above .500 record.  Of those 20 remaining games, eleven are on the road, where the Pacers currently sport a 14-16 record.  They give up an average of 122 points per game to their opponents, the third worst in the entire NBA behind the Wizards and Hawks.

On top of all of that, we’re seeing Tyrese Haliburton have the worst stretch of his career.  Something that could not be happening at a worse time.  He looks lost, frustrated and possibly fatigued.  An All-Star hangover?  Head coach Rick Carlisle didn’t rule it out during his weekly interview with us.  But it’s something to keep an eye on as the Pacers hit the critical part of their season.

Will they be a team that rises up out of adversity and finally plays like the team we all expected them to or will they continue to flounder and wilt down the stretch?

One thing is for sure: Tick Tock.

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