The Pacers have been impressive against Eastern Conference opponents of late, dropping close games to the top teams and winning several games against the bloated middle tier of playoff contenders.
I consider the Cavaliers to be the elite team in the East followed by the Bulls a notch lower. After nearly a month, we may need to include the Heat with the Bulls, while the Pacers are leading the rest of the pack.
Maybe injuries and adjusting to Fred Hoiberg as the coach has brought the Bulls closer to the pack, but they are still going to be a tough out when the post season begins. Their recent 2-1 stretch out West proved that as did their ability to close out the Pacers last week when it appeared the Blue and Gold might swipe a W from the United Center.
But taking out the current top three teams, a group including the Pacers, Hawks, Raptors, Wizards, Pistons, Hornets, Celtics, Bucks, Magic and even the Knicks will likely ebb and flow throughout the season trying to settle the final five playoff spots.
The Pacers are off to a great start in that race, currently 6-1 in direct matchups against that group. On Friday, they'll have another crack at the Bulls and an opportunity to show they can nudge their way into the top tier of the East. Ready or not the East is competitive this year and the playoff race is under way.
Hopefully the Pacers can make a few shots after making nearly all of the shots in Washington on Tuesday. The 19-26 effort from behind the arc was only the best ever in the NBA by a team with at least 25 3-ball attempts and second for a team with over 20 attempts. Historically good is a pleasant way to describe the Pacers, especially with the Bulls coming to town. Should be plenty of fun at the Fieldhouse on Friday.
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Check out the links:
Game Rewind: Pacers 123, Wizards 106 | Indiana Pacers
'East Coast Splash Brothers': George, Miles lead Pacers' 3-point barrage
Indiana Pacers are getting points from quite a few players | FOX Sports
Paul George and C.J. Miles take flight as Pacers outlast Wizards, 123-106 - Bullets Forever
Pacers star Paul George: I'm better than ever | CSN Mid-Atlantic
Indiana Pacers Set Franchise Record, Sink The Wizards
Paul George did his best Stephen Curry impression against the Wizards - SBNation.com
Pacers hit franchise-record 19 3s, Paul George drops 40 as Pacers beat Wizards | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo Sports
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