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Pacers need more help than Lance Stephenson to make playoffs

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Now sitting outside the playoffs, the Pacers must rely on other teams faltering to make it to post-season play.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers will get some help on Sunday when Lance Stephenson joins the team to play a few minutes in the reserve rotation.

Stephenson will need a couple of games to get his game legs going, but with six games remaining in the regular season his impact may be more emotional than physical, at best.

But even if the Pacers rattle off six wins to close the season, they still need at least one team among Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Milwaukee to lose enough to slide behind the Pacers. With the tight races throughout the standings in the East, it isn’t likely any teams will be resting since no spots are locked up at this point.

After the Bulls pulled out a win over Atlanta, it appears the Hawks may be the team most likely to falter, although when Paul Millsap returns they will get a far better boost than the Pacers will from Lance.

But, the Hawks have a challenging schedule, playing Boston and Cleveland twice in four days at the end of the week. By that point, the Pacers will have played Toronto and Milwaukee at home and post-season situation will be much more clear.

If the Pacers hold serve at home, they could be heading toward a matchup with the Hawks on the last day of the regular season for the final playoff spot since the winner will earn the tie breaker.

But with the Pacers playing at Cleveland on Sunday while the Hawks visit the Nets, Atlanta could add another game to the hill the Pacers have to climb.