Picking Up the Pace: Indiana on Track for an Impressive Season

As we start to move towards the tail end of the season it’s great to see Indiana exceeding all preseason expectations. When general manager Kevin Pritchard gave the all clear for the Victor Oladipo trade, many felt 30 wins for the year would be a solid realistic target. But the team has proved the critics wrong and are currently 30-25 while sitting in sixth place in the Eastern conference.

What is even more impressive from the Pacers is that they have achieved this with a string of injuries to their key players. Myles Turner has had a few decent stints on the sidelines, Oladipo missed six games with different issues, and Darren Collison is looking at several weeks on the bench with a knee injury.

Luckily the bench has been deep so far this season at guard with Cory Johnson and Lance Stephenson playing some fantastic ball. Domas Sabonis has been dominant, whether he’s starting or playing a backup role for Turner, and currently leads the side for rebounds averaging a whisker over eight per game.

See Also: Stephenson explains what leads up to one of his moments

However, the main issue for the team is starting the game too slow and putting themselves behind the eight ball in the first half. Even though it’s always thrilling to watch a comeback victory, the extra energy the starters have to expend on the court to secure the points, will come back to haunt them at the end of the season when fatigue kicks in.

Victor Oladipo lays it in.

The positive thing right now though is that the Pacers are right on track for a shot at the playoffs which many thought would be out of their reach this year. Last season they came up against the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round are were subsequently beaten 4-0.

This year fans are a little more optimistic about how far they could go and there’s definitely a buzz getting around within the organization. They are currently a huge long shot to win the NBA Finals at +9000 and are ranked the 13th most likely team in the competition. Although the Warriors have had a tight grip on the NBA in recent times, some keen supporters might look to use some of the free bet promotions on sites such as Oddschecker, if they wanted to get behind their team.

It’s Indiana’s blistering offense that has got the team where they are at the moment, and Oladipo is leading the charge from the front. He’s averaged 24 points a game so far and produced some truly magnificent performances. They are second in the Eastern conference for their three point rate at 37.6%, and have a success rate from the floor of a staggering 48.2%. And although there has been a slight drop in their scoring averages as a team recently, we saw it back on the rise in February.

Where the Pacers have struggled at times this season is the inconsistency in defense. When Turner has been out injured the team has failed to deal with opposition effectively, and the inability to deal with the pressure makes for some extremely frustrating viewing for supporters.

If Indiana can sort things out a little better at the back and keep their forwards powering the way they have been, we could see the start of something special building for the future. Oladipo is turning into an absolute star and the supporting cast is performing well. If they can get themselves into the playoffs, we may see them cause a few upsets during their finals campaign.

[Photos: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

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