Photo credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Over the last few months, the Indiana Pacers went from being an unstoppable NBA juggernaut, to a team that even fans don’t recognize any more. Their problem is all mental, all in the mind. I believed this team has overachieved this season, regardless of the talent they acquired in the offseason, they are not a team that is supposed to win 60 games in a season. They’re more of a team that is built for the playoff grind. I think that the early success got to the players head, and also to the fans head, thinking that’s who they were. We ALL forgot about the underdog mentality that made us great. You can’t go on twitter now and see anything positive about the Pacers, and it’s understandable, but we’ve all lost focus. The team last year that went to the Eastern Conference Finals, the team that pushed Miami to 7 games only won 49 games. They currently won 52 games this season, so to me, the Pacers have already succeeded.
Pacers made a goal to get home court advantage throughout the playoffs, and to me that’s where the problem lies. Pacers shouldn’t have made that a top priority. What they should have made a priority was fixing how they play on the road because that’s their real problem. For example, Lance needs to bring that show boating on the road with him, and make fans boo him because that’s taking away the energy from the home team. In the playoffs, you don’t want to go 7 games deep every series, you want to close out series as quickly as possible. Pacers getting home court advantage would be their downfall, because they’re not a team that should be allowed to relax and be comfortable. Whether they like it or not, they need that pressure, they should embrace it.
During the month of March, everyone including myself questioned their current play. The slow starts, the lack of heart, lack of judgement on the court, pointing fingers, playing the blame game and such is all part of the plan to see if the Pacers are truly contenders this season. You can pull out all the statistics you want to figure out how to solve their problems, you can try to put the blame on the new acquisitions Andrew Bynum or Evan Turner, but in the end it’s all about getting over this last hurdle. No championship is a walk in the park, there’s no yellow brick road with sparkles on it, It’s a war through the dark, foggy forests with nothing but your brothers to back you up. To win wars you have to band together and work as a unit, even through the tough times you have to find a way, and it’s up to the Pacers to find that way, and get back to playing the way they were built to play.
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