Here we are at game #21, so I wanted to look back at how the Pacers have been playing these first two games as we’re rounding the corner into the next quarter of the season. Sitting at 10-10 might not be the ideal record, we expected the Pacers to have, but they are 1.5 games out of first place for the division. That’s more of the goal for this team to reach, and I think if they can finally get some wins together, the division should be the Pacers. They even got a divisional win over the Chicago Bulls earlier this week, which is so far one of the better wins for this team.
You look at some of the wins, and you see another win over the Lakers in Los Angeles, which is now 3 in a row there after never winning at Staples Center. They’ve also beat Dallas and swept the season series against the Sacramento Kings, a team that they should probably beat.
But there are bad losses as well, which included losing to Charlotte, who hadn’t won in forever. They lost two games to the San Antonio Spurs. The first one was a blowout, and the second game, the Pacers had a lead that they lost. They got routed by the New York Knicks, who look like a force to be reckon with this year. They also suffered a three game losing streak, which didn’t help the record.
There’s still plenty of time left in this season to turn things around. Today could be a great start as the Pacers will battle in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. Last season, the Pacers held a lead over the Thunder most of the way, and ended up winning against that top team in the West. Who knows what to expect out of this one? The Thunder look just as good this season, and have only suffered 4 losses.
I want to hand out some small kudos to players. David West gets the most consistent player award, as he’s been more of the double double machine that the Pacers were looking for when they signed him. He’s been a leader for this squad, and I hope to see him in a Pacers uniform come next season. Lance Stephenson gets kudos for improving his play. He’s looking like the guy that has some potential for the Pacers team. He got inserted into the starting lineup, which has looked like the best option for the Pacers. He’s come in and scored at times, made good passes, played some defense, and just seems like a good energy guy for the starters.
Roy Hibbert and Paul George still need to become more consistent. We have seen Paul George turn around his game to be that scoring machine we thought he could. But it needs to be done over a long run, and this team will become better for it. Roy Hibbert needs to start hitting those bunny shots at the goal and make sure his head is in the right place. Get that confidence back up and Hibbert will be the All Star he was last year.
This team can get things going, and I expect them to be right there vying for the Central Division title. This week has some good games to get the team in the right direction as they play the Cavs, Sixers, and Pistons. All teams that the Pacers have a great shot at beating. Get those wins going, and maybe the Pacers are leading the division by next week. Today’s game should tell a lot about where this team can go, if they hold their own against the Thunder. The next quarter of the season is going to be important, so we’ll finally get a sense of what the Pacers can do.