NBA Power Rankings: Indiana Pacers Receive Growing Praise in National Rankings as Season Draws Close to End

Apr 23, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Detroit 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

With the regular season drawing to an end, the power rankings will begin to wrap up as well. The good news for the Pacers is they'll finish out Power Rankings lists hovering around the Top 5, a huge step forward for a team fighting for a postseason berth just a year ago. The Pacers take on two games with no Eastern Conference standings importantance, but as Chris Sheridan points out, they're potential home court deciders if the Pacers make it all the way to the NBA Finals.

Of course, that's such a long ways off, and with the Pacers opponent still not officially decided with the season ending Thursday, there are far more immediate concerns. The Pacers will be playing against the Orlando Magic or New York Knicks next week, and the two couldn't provide such complete opposites for how the national media will expect the Pacers to fare.

- NBA Power Rankings - Marc Stein - ESPN
Marc Stein points out the impressive feat for the young, 6th ranked Pacers: only Danny Granger and David West (prior to the Leandro Barbosa acquisition) make more than $3 million. Plenty of youth, incredibly economical roster...any doubt Larry Bird is Executive of the Year?

- NBA Power Rankings: Bring On The Playoffs - SBNation.com
Tom Ziller gives props to Larry Bird for building a quality team with no high pick or major free agency acquisition. They may not be noise makers, but the #5 Pacers are quiet and effective.

- Power Rankings: Closing up shop for the season | NBA.com
The Pacers sit at No. 5, with plenty of praise for George Hill as the starter, helping things to look positive for Indiana's first postseason series win since 2005.

- Sagarin Ratings - USA Today
The Sagarin Ratings have the Pacers locked in at #7. Look at that though, the Pacers have had the easiest schedule in the NBA this year?

- Top O' The World, Ma | NBA.com - David Aldridge
Aldridge pops the Pacers in at 5th, noting the team coming together at the right time for a postseason run.

- 2011-2012 Hollinger Power Rankings - ESPN
Indiana sits at #9 in the Hollinger rankings, dropping a bit in overall numbers following the win against Detroit. Again, fortunate computers play zero role in the NBA.

- Chris Sheridan's Weekly NBA Power Rankings
Chris Sheridan notes that in the event the Pacers, at 7th, can get out of the East, these last two games do hold meaning in regards to potential home court in the NBA Finals. He also notes Frank Vogel as his Coach of the Year runner-up.

- NBA Power Rankings: Spurs close out season riding high | ProBasketballTalk
Kurt Helin likes the #5 Pacers. "Everyone is sleeping on the Pacers," he writes. That's of course been a common sentiment among Pacers fans for some time now. "Watch how far they push the Heat in the second round." Hard not to get excited about the playoffs with things like that.

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