Pacers begin playoff push

Despite slow start, Pacers still have shot at the postseason

The Indiana Pacers season did not start as they hoped for. In fact, the Pacers started the season minus three starters from last year.

The most notable missing start was Paul George. During team USA showcase George went down on a fast break but then he got caught on the basket stanchion (the stand for the basket) where he suffered a broken leg. Since that injury George has been rehabbing his leg and has been put on the injury list as indefinite with no real timetable to return.

So far the Pacers have shown some fighting spirit with the players who have been able to be on the floor and currently hold a 18-32 record. The Pacers have struggled against the more athletic teams in the league and the more talented teams of the Western Conference. Lucky for them, the Pacers are playing in the Eastern Conference and a losing record could still land them a spot in the playoffs. The Pacers currently hold the number 12 spot in the Eastern Conference trailing Miami, Brooklyn, Detroit and Boston.

The Pacers are in stretch of home games and are 2-1 so far with two games remaining at Bankers Life Fieldhouse during this stretch. The Pacers only have one back-to-back game this month so they have a chance to rest before most games. This is something the Pacers need to take advantage of. That’s why head coach Frank Vogel emphasizes the need to play well early to set the tone.

Point guard George Hill had scored in double figures in his ten appearances.  And as far as plus and minus go, the Pacers have been more effective with Hill on the floor.

In this stretch where they have to play some tired legged teams, pushing the floor can be the difference in the game to fight to get easy shots. Inside players Roy Hibbert and David West will be keys in this run.

The Pacers are a different team than they were last season when they made the Eastern Conference Finals. But the Pacers should be ok with the fact they are in striking distance in the Eastern Conference.

Indiana has made the race for the final spot in the playoffs interesting and even with the recent six game losing streak the Pacers suffered and the fact they are in the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference, they still haven’t gone away. From day one Larry Bird preached the team would fight and make it to the playoffs.

Even though the Pacers have lost their top scorer from last season, lost Lance Stephenson to Charlotte and lost a couple guys for games due to injury, the real loss would be if the Pacers don’t make the playoffs.

The race could get more interesting. According to multiple reports, Bird claims that George may play this season after his recovery has been impressive. It would be unlikely that he does in the next month, but maybe in March there could be a chance. If you did factor in if George makes his return, the Pacers could be competitive and even run through the teams around the East.

The Pacers need to take this season one game at time. If they can make a run of at least winning a couple games each and some help from the other teams in the East falling off, the Pacers have a chance of making the playoffs.