I am most positive that last year at this time, no one even knew the Indiana Pacers exist. If you ask anybody if they thought the Pacers would be holding down 3rd seed right now…90% would say, “Hell NO.!”
All I can say is that I sure hope the Indiana Pacers picked up a newspaper this morning to soak in the fact that they are indeed 3RD in Eastern Conference standings. Although the Pacers have a pretty tough schedule creeping up which includes games against, New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Portand, the Los Angeles Clippers and New York two times…there is NO STOPPING them now! I think they are feeling the rhythm behind hearing “3RD.” Bottom line is…they have been on fire!!!
The hot potato game for the race to No. 3 doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon. The Pacers have now won 5 straight to wheedle out the spot in the standings behind the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. Hold on… now PACE yourselves because between you and me, we both know that Miami and Chicago are running far away from the East. The Pacers still trail the Heat by five games and the Bulls by five and a half. Both the Heat and the Bulls are on pace to win 50 games, which means the Pacers would have to go 28-4 to reach 50 wins………so, the rhythm may feel good and all but let’s get serious, its staying at 3, if anything. The team should be focusing on what it will take to protect the 3RD seed from the pack of wolves that are chasing the spot right behind. This being said, the most important image should be “THE OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR THAT ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR” aka the 3 teams that are trying to grind up and feel the Pacer’s booty….just like that creepy guy in the club that keeps trying to hump you from behind and makes you want to scream…“GET OFF ME!”
Anyways, the importance of that third spot for all of these contenders could mean the difference between a first round exit in the playoffs and the possibility of challenging the Heat or the Bulls for a chance to play in the Eastern Conference finals. In addition, the home court advantage it delivers for its owner, at least in the first round, the No. 3 seed in the East has advanced to at least the conference semifinals in each of the past four seasons. The last time the No. 3 seed didn’t make it out of the first round was in 2007, when the Toronto Raptors won the Atlantic Division crown but lost to the New Jersey Nets in the first round. Since then, the Magic (2008 and 2009), Hawks (2010) and Celtics (2011) have all made it through to the second round, and let’s not forget the Magic making it all the way to The Finals in 2009, falling to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
We could still see a shake up amongst the challengers with the March 15 trade deadline around the corner. Hypothetically speaking, if Dwight Howard is traded and the Magic are left to clean up the mess … that is one team who could get dropped off the chopping block. Also, let’s not forget the Hawks and Knicks who are just 5 games back…which means if either one of them gets on another hot streak, this whole 3rd place race could get twisted, yet again.
Either way…the Pacers need to keep their momentum flowing and they should be able to hold down the fort…However, you know what they say…anything is possible!
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Written by Melissa Tzotzis