Pacers down Bobcats, Magic up next

January 26, 2009 in Indiana Pacers, NBA by pacejmiller

Jeff FosterPacers beat Bobcats

The Indiana Pacers began their relatively ‘soft’ part of the season schedule by holding on to beat the surging Charlotte Bobcats yesterday, 98-93.  It was also good to see them hold an opponent under 100 points for once.  I was also surprised to learn that it was their 5th consecutive home victory.

Danny Granger led the way again with 27 points on 11-25 shooting, but it was Jeff Foster’s outstanding 13 rebounds (including 10 offensive boards) that made the difference.  The understated veteran really doesn’t get enough appreciation for doing the Pacers’ dirty work for so many years.

Time to make a move

The win moved the Pacers up to 17-27 but they remain second last in the East.  However, right now there are four teams just ahead of them with 18 wins apiece (New York, Chicago, Charlotte and Toronto).  If they can just pull themselves together and land a few more victories then things might start to get interesting. 

The problem is, a lot of the teams around them are also beginning to find their feet again (the Bobcats was one of them), so gaining ground in the standings is going to be even harder than it already looks.  But the Pacers don’t have time to worry about other teams anyway – focusing on themselves has been hard enough as it is.

The next stretch is going to make or break their season.  As I noted in a previous post, the majority of teams they play next (12 out of 16) are going to be teams at 0.500 or below.  Tomorrow, however, they visit the Magic in Orlando, and it’s going to be tough to expect them to pull out that one.  But the Magic have shown a tiny little bit of vulnerability in their last few games, so a miracle is not impossible.

Looking ahead, they’ve got 4 straight home games, against Milwaukee (who just lost Michael Redd for the rest of the season), Miami, New York and Minnesota.  Let’s hope they can get a clean sweep of those games to give themselves more confidence for some of the later road games.

Granger All-Star watch

I think it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Danny Granger is going to make the All-Star team this season.  Just about every team they play these days is heaping praise on this young man.  Today, it’s Raja Bell, who had this to say:

“It’s not surprising that he’s playing as well as he is. When you play against him, you realize how good of a player he is. I think he’s definitely deserving of an All-Star spot. He is one of those guys that can do a lot of things. He can shoot. He’s long and can defend and can draw a lot of fouls. He’s a tough cover.”

Granger’s really established himself as one of the premier offensive players in the game this season.  His defense hasn’t been too shabby either.  Hopefully in the remainder of this season and the next he can take his game to the next level and become the type of leader that makes everyone else better around him.  Only then can the Pacers start dreaming of elite status again (or landing Lebron).