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Pacers lose control of their playoff destiny

The Pacers came up short down the stretch in their loss to the Nets and in the process put their playoff plans in the hands of other teams.

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Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers tipped off their game against the Nets on Tuesday night in full control of their playoff destiny. Winning games against Brooklyn, Boston, Charlotte and Miami this week would've strengthened their spot in the standings  and keep them in control.

But after digging an early hole and then coming up dry down the stretch, the Pacers lost to the Nets and also lost control of their playoff destiny. Winning the next three will help greatly but the Pacers will still need help which may be hard to come by.

The Pacers are now 1.5 games behind the Nets for the final spot and a win in Boston tonight likely won't change that deficit since Brooklyn plays the Knicks at the same time. Math will keep the Pacers alive but they need help and also need to help themselves by maintaining a sense of urgency to win upcoming games.

They showed that urgency in Brooklyn, but frankly didn't have the horses to match up with the Nets who have found their stride of late. The difference was glaring in the final two minutes when the Pacers blundered two critical possessions, failing to get even a decent shot up, while the Nets leaned on Joe Johnson to get two buckets to separate for the win.

The key now, as they face a Celtics team without the same caliber of horses, will be to stay strong and keep fighting...and then keep an eye on the league scoreboard.

Check out the links:

Game Rewind: Pacers 106, Nets 111 | Indiana Pacers

Game Preview: Pacers at Celtics | Indiana Pacers

George Hill rips Pacers: 'We're giving the season away'

Pacers running out of chances | WFNI ESPN 1070 the Fan | Indy's SportsCenter

Surging Nets hold off Pacers to regain No. 8 spot in playoff race | New York Post

Nets back in playoff spot with much-needed win over Pacers - NY Daily News

Video: Nets are rolling as they beat the Pacers to win their 4th straight - NetsDaily

A Playoff Problem: If the Celtics Are Trying to Rebuild, Then Why the Postseason Push? "

Is the Celtics' recent success sabotaging the rebuild? - CelticsBlog

33 Larry Bird Facts You Didn’t Know - Celtics - Boston.com