The Indiana Pacers seemed intent on playing better in Philadelphia last night but once again they just didn't have it. This is the point in the NBA season that demands extra focus to fight through the wall of the marathon season, like runnners trying to make it through miles 18-22 in a real marathon.
This is nothing new for the Pacers who have struggled with the mental and physical demands of the season in March before. Winning games now, whether at home or on the road, against elite teams or non-playoff contenders, requires an next-level amount of mental toughness to get it done. This is how elite teams rise above the rest.
The loss in Philly had a similar feeling to the WTH effort the Pacers put forth in a bad loss to the then New Jersey Nets in late March. Following that loss, the Pacers picked up their level of play to close the season, starting with a great effort in a loss at San Antonio. Two years ago the Pacers lost six in a row in March before eventually closing the season with enough wins to sneak into the playoffs.
So can the Pacers show some growth this year and minimize the "March Malaise" stretch? The stakes are higher this year with prime real estate in the form of a number two spot in the East in play. But the Pacers still have plenty of work to do which will test this team's toughness to finish the season strong and earn that lofty two spot.
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