It’s Marathon Not a Sprint

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By Stefan Anderson

As most runner that run long distance would tell, it’s all about pacing yourself. Ironically the Indiana Pacers have failed to do so. After being defeated by the Miami Heat in the 2012 playoffs in 6 games, they bounced back and stretched the series out one more game in Eastern Conference Finals, but failed to finish the Heat and watched the Heat win their second consecutive title. Following last year’s defeat in the playoffs, the Pacers believed that if they hosted the game 7 of series it would have been a different outcome, making it a priority to earn this year’s top seed in the East.

Starting from the offseason the plan was in full implantation for the upcoming season.

After acquiring Luis Scola, C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland, the Pacers stacked up their bench and went forth with executing their plan. The Pacers came out the gates hot this season, holding on the top seed and holding the best record in NBA for a good amount of time. Indiana was on course to complete the task, the emergence of Paul George blossoming into a superstar and force to compete with the league’s biggest star Lebron James.

But the trade deadline came about.

After reaching higher heights without their once franchise player Danny Granger, they decided to trade Granger for a younger, athletic swingman in Evan Turner, to give their team more weapons to put an end to Miami’s dreams of a three peat.  Also signing the inconsistent but valuable when healthy Andrew Bynum, they were poised to continue their reign and win the Eastern Conference as planned.

Then the plan backfired.

Since trading away Danny Granger, the Pacers have been 10-13 including losing 7 of their last 10 games.  The Pacers find themselves in a familiar but uncomfortable position chasing the Miami Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Was Granger that much of a factor for Indiana? Maybe but I believe that Indiana’s has more than chemistry issues. Granger, has been good asset for Indiana since being drafted but has seen a decline in the past few years and has lost role due to injuries.

Therefore, I do not believe that he is the main reason for their recent loses and that it comes from continuity. The Pacers with their new additions and more depth on the bench, puts Coach Frank Vogel in a tough spot to adjust to his new players along bringing them into the rotation. Now after having a set amount minutes for each player, while keeping starters at the same minute total, a very complex situation to say the least.

The Pacers are not totally out of their place, because of their consistent defense and physical style of play that holds teams just over 90 points a game. They have fared great amongst the good teams in the NBA and the East as well, splitting with the Bulls and could win the season series with the Heat if they win on Friday. The Pacers are still in a great position, but have to play with a chip on their shoulder and should be very interesting to watch in the playoffs as the season comes to a close. 

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