Pacers stun Magic, continue frustrating trend

February 7, 2009 in Basketball, Indiana Pacers, NBA by pacejmiller

 

Granger scores 33 as Pacers top Magic 107-102

Granger scores 33 as Pacers top Magic 107-102

 

Pacers beat Magic 107-102, avoid sweep

After 3 conseuctive losses against totally beatable opponents (the Knicks and Timberwolves at home and the 76ers on the road without Elton Brand), I had a funny feeling that the Indiana Pacers might outdo themselves again and surprise the Orlando Magic to avoid a season sweep by a team that has thoroughly dominated in their previous 3 games.

Sure enough, the Pacers stunned the Magic 107-102 at Conseco Fieldhouse last night, adding to their list of surprising victories over league powerhouses such as the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and the Detoit Pistons.  Danny Granger scored 33 points to lead the way despite a sore knee.  Dwight Howard led Orlando with 21 points and 20 rebounds but struggled in the 4th quarter.

I have pretty much already given up on the Pacers making the playoffs this season, so wins like this just make things more frustrating.  How can a team that is capable of beating the elite teams (or at least playing them closely) still have a pathetic record of 20-31 (12th in the East)?  It just shows how wildly inconsistent they are.  Until they can learn to play on a more consistent basis (and I can’t see that happening this season), expect this bizarre trend of beating good teams but losing to bad ones continuing.

Recap of ‘dream run’ thus far

On 24 January 2009, after the Pacers’ home victory over the Houston Rockets which gave them a record of 16-27, I put up a post outlining a supposed ‘soft patch’ in the Pacers’ season schedule.  Out of the next 17 games from that date, 13 of them were against sub-0.500 teams (at least at that time) and 10 were at home.  As I put it, it was make or break time for the Pacers’ playoff hopes this season.

So how have they done so far?

Well, I suppose things are going okay, but could be a lot better.  In the first 8 games of this ‘dream run’, the Pacers have gone an ordinary 4-4.  The list goes: Charlotte (Win), @Orlando (Loss), Milwaukee (Win), Miami (Win), New York (Loss), Minnesota (Loss), @Philadelphia (Loss), Orlando (Win).  Perhaps they won one or two they should have lost (Orlando and possibly Miami at home) but they lost two or three they should have won (New York and Minnesota at home and possibly Philadelphia on the road).  They have since moved up 2 spots in the standings, from 14th to 12th, but that is more due to Toronto and Charlotte’s collapses than their stellar play.  They are still 3.5 games out from the 8th playoff spot (behind Milwaukee, 24-28).

Up next

Up next, @Washington, Cleveland, @Milwaukee, Philadelphia, @Charlotte, @Minnesota, Chicago, @New York, Memphis.  With the exception of the Cleveland game, all of these opponents should be regarded as beatable.  But don’t expect Indiana to go 8-1 (as much as I would love to), because when it comes to the Pacers, anything is possible.