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IC Cold Links: Pacers Even Up Record In 50/50 Games

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The Indiana Pacers win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night counts as a victory in a key game that we can look back on at the end of the season as determining whether or not the Pacers made the playoffs.

The Pacers will have a lot of these types of games this year and by my count they are 2-2 so far this season. I'm talking about games against non-elite teams when the outcome could go either way with the winner determined by the team that executes and makes winning plays down the stretch. Let's call them 50/50 games.

So I don't count the first loss at San Antonio because beating the Spurs at home would always take an extraordinary effort from this Pacers team. I also don't count the blow-out wins over Philadelphia and Denver because there are nights when everything is flowing well and you catch the other team on their heels. Those wins are a given, as are losses like the hurl-worthy effort the Pacers had at Philadelphia when they weren't ready to play and the Sixers had it flowing.

But consider the two brutal losses to Milwaukee and Houston, when the game was up for grabs in the fourth quarter and the Pacers couldn't make the plays to win. Those are the types of losses that will stand out at the end of the year if the Pacers don't make the playoffs, so minimizing those losses is obviously critical.

Of course, you can't just consider the negative because the Pacers swooped in and stole a nice win at Charlotte earlier in the year and then last night took care of business down the stretch at Cleveland. You can't really look at the schedule and determine how many of these 50/50 games the team will have because how the game plays out is part of the equation. But the Pacers should have their fair share and you'll know it when you see it.

Developing some consistency from night to night will help the Pacers avoid the outlier blowout losses and give them a chance to win more often. Once they have a chance, it comes down to execution and play-makers stepping up to make plays. Last night, Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy made it look easy. Let's just hope the 50/50 record rises above .500 as the Pacers head into a more difficult stretch of their schedule.

After the jump, a few links of interest from last night's win including an update on Tyler Hansbrough's ankle and the playing status of A.J. Price and Lance Stephenson. Also, I'd like your thoughts on NBA Playbook's take on a mental gaffe by Mike Dunleavy in Friday's loss.