Look, I knew the third quarter was a problem for the Pacers last year, but I had no idea how big a problem it was.
The king of Pacers statistical analysis, Tim Donahue, exposed the glaring issues presented by the third quarter in this epic post at Eight Points, Nine Seconds.
While that may seem nearly impossible, here’s the explanation: Indiana could only manage to win 28 of the 48 games that they led at half. And that winning percentage of .583 was way below the cumulative .731 winning percentage posted by the other 29 teams in games where they led at the half. In fact, only 6 other teams had a lower conversion rate in this situation than the Pacers. Had Indiana simply been able to match that league average winning percentage of .731, it would have meant 7 more wins — and a playoff birth.
As with most of the Pacers' problems last year, the way they ended the season offered a glimmer of hope that the third quarter implosions may occur less frequently this year. Let's hope so!