Here we are at the end of the regular season,and on to the playoffs. For the first time in some time, the Pacers have good expectations for the playoffs. I personally expect the Pacers to win the first round and compete really hard in the second. That might not sound like a realistic goal for the second round, but it will probably be against the Miami Heat, a team that was tough in the regular season until the last two meetings. So who knows if this Heat team can put it together and become that team that handled the Pacers in their first two meetings?
What are the overall thoughts on the regular season though? As a fan and editor of this site, I don’t think I could have expected anything more than what the Indiana Pacers did. They put together a winning team that competed hard and was fun to watch. They got signature wins that I equated to a college team and picking up those wins to earn themselves style points.
Some of those signature wins were beating Chicago in Chicago early on in the season. Beating the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. Beating the Los Angeles Lakers in LA for a second straight year at the Staples Center, where they HAD never won. Beating Oklahoma City Thunder in a game where they lead by as many as 24 points. Beating the Miami Heat by 15 points on their home floor. That right there is a great list of wins.
Then again, you look at the other side and see losses to the Kings early on, where they fell apart in the fourth quarter. Losing two straight games to the New York Knicks after Danny Granger said they were winnable games. Losing to the San Antonio Spurs. Losing the season series to the Orlando Magic, who they will face in the first round of the playoffs.
Putting that together, you have a team that finishes 18 games over .500. Third best in the Eastern Conference. 4th or 5th best overall record in the NBA. And you have exceeded the expectations placed here.
Ultimately, it will come down to what happens in the playoffs and whether fans will truly embrace back this team. It looks like ticket sales are going well, so that’s a great sign. Last night’s game against the Chicago Bulls was a great atmosphere to be a part of, even with the Bulls fans in attendance. Come Game One on Saturday that place should be rocking and the Pacers should be able to take care of the Orlando Magic, who will be without Dwight Howard. Make some “Magic” in the playoffs and this will be a fantastic season for the Blue and Gold.