If I hear one more person say, the Pacers have to go for the one seed in the East because that was their stated goal earlier in the season, I may lose it. Organizations have to adapt to succeed as circumstance around them change.
This means the Pacers could be back in first place in the East when the sun rises tomorrow while also having the inside track on the tie break between the teams. That's not necessarily good news.
With all of this sudden talk of fatigue and resting players by Frank Vogel and the Pacers, it seems like they feel much better about that two-seed despite their preseason goal to win the East. In fact, I'm getting the sense both Miami and Indiana are in 'doth protest too much' mode while internally angling for that playoff schedule out of the two-seed.
Obviously, from technical offensive execution to mental and physical fatigue, there are no shortage of issues to compile which help explain the Pacers late-season decline. Everyone seems to have their favorite "issue" to lean on in an attempt to reason through the the problems, but much like the team, the combined problems are greather than the sum of the issues.
If the Pacers hope to get better when they reboot for the playoffs, the actual time of the season they are built for, then they will need to gather momentum as the post-season progresses. So why make the road tougher than it has to be?
If the Pacers don't figure it out, then it won't matter which team they have lined up in the second round. They may not get there or be summarily dismissed by Toronto or Washington, let alone Brooklyn or Chicago. But making the assumption they do gather steam at the right time, as they did last year after staggering through the first round, then a second-round matchup with Toronto/Chicago or Washington sounds much better than Brooklyn.
The Nets have the best record in the East since Jan. 1 and the All-Star break. After getting healthy and then acquiring Marcus Thornton, they are deep and every bit the championship contender predicted prior to the season. You can go macho and say, if the Pacers want to be champs they should want to play all of the tough teams, but in this case brains are better than brawn.
Again, circumstances change and the Pacers certainly can see the two paths starting to unfold before them and the journey through the 2-seed looks much better as we sit here today.
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