Pacers close strong at winning time to take last-second drama out of wins

Andy Lyons

The Pacers are now 20-3 with a remarkable record of taking care of business in the fourth quarter to put wins on ice.

As mentioned in this story by Scoop Jackson, the Indiana Pacers are 18-0 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter. On their way to 20 wins, the Pacers have routinely worn out opponents and found a way to execute at both ends of the court in tight games down the stretch.

But so far, they haven't needed a hero to rise up and win a game on the last possession or let fly with a game-winner as the buzzer sounds. As mentioned by Eddie White last night on the post-game show, all 20 W's for the Pacers included at least a five-point margin of victory (which has happened four times in wins over the Bobcats, Clippers, Nets and Pelicans).

Against Charlotte on Friday, it remained a one-possession game until the final 15 seconds when George Hill made three of four free throws on two separate trips to the line to put the Pacers up by five for good. More importantly, the Pacers held the Bobcats scoreless on their final five possession in the last two minutes of the game. Next level defense when needed.

Jackson has been around the Fieldhouse lately and gathered enough information for this fantastic mea culpa proclaiming his belief in the Pacers after laying out minimal expectations for the Blue and Gold in his preseason predictions. Make sure to check out the whole story, which includes a great quote from Rasual Butler about the team still building toward a higher level of play.

"I can't remember ever playing on a team like this," said Rasual Butler, who signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Pacers in the offseason. "While we are winning, we still haven't played our best brand of basketball yet. I know just from being around these guys that there's another level we can go to. And we will get there. We're still not where we want to be, and we know what we are playing for."

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