For the first time all year, the Pacers are in second place, behind the Heat, in the race for the No. 1 seed. That was their vociferously stated goal from Day One. Now they’ve thrown it away, and they’ve done it at a time when the Heat has had its own struggles.
“Good for them (the Heat),” Roy Hibbert said dourly. “We don’t deserve it. Good for them. Whoever we see in the playoffs, we’ll see, but we’ve got to figure things out…But we don’t deserve the No. 1 seed.”
A slump? A hiccup? No, it’s a whole lot more than that. After Monday night’s 103-77 blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Pacers have lost 10 of their last 16 games and six of their last eight. After that 33-7 start, when they were the toast of the NBA and had everybody lauding their selflessness, the Pacers have now gone 19-16. That’s not a slump. That’s a month-and-a-half, two months’ worth of mediocrity. That’s who they are now. Indy Star
Hibbert has been saying a whole lot lately about his “selfish” teammates.
@WindhorstESPN reports GHill and Lance traded words and had to be separated by teammates during huddle in 2nd half.
— Conrad Brunner (@1070Bruno) April 1, 2014
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Pacers have now surrendered the first seed in the East to the Miami Heat for the first time this season. Destiny appeared to be taking shape at the start of this regular season when the Pacers acknowledged that the first seed integral to their title aspirations. Taking lumps in the playoffs and getting better every year is part of molding your roster into gritty champions. We were supposed to witness the start of a new era. The pressure of these expectations is starting to crush the team.
How anti-climatic would it be for the Pacers to implode during the playoffs? Looks like we might found out soon. – AL