After the Pacers went on such a great run, winning 13 of 15 games to work their way to the top of the heap of six teams competing for the final two playoff spots in the East, they found out there is no time to exhale. Suddenly, losing two games in a row has the Pacers tied with Boston and Miami with Charlotte lurking a game behind.
This with roadies at Chicago tonight and Cleveland on Friday. But it shouldn't be all gloom and doom.
The race seems to be down to four teams. The Pistons have faded and the Nets seemed to show no interest in the playoff push and remain a few games back despite winning their last two. Also, Milwaukee lost on Monday and remains just three games ahead of the Pacers in the loss column.
Of course, in a race like this, the next game is always the most important, so nothing matters more than playing the Bulls at the UC tonight. The Pacers handled short-handed Chicago 10 days ago at the Fieldhouse and injuries will continue to sideline Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose which should make the task for the Pacers less daunting.
Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol are still a major problem in the front court and Nikola Mirotic has been nice off the bench. The Pacers have to guard the arc better than they did against Toronto. The Blue and Gold benefited from a lot of missed shots (5-23 on 3-pointers) by the Bulls in the last meeting but they will keep shooting so avoiding another barrage from downtown will be critical.
But regardless of how it is done, winning is more critical and if they take a peek at the standings the sense of urgency should return for the Pacers.
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