Are the Indiana Pacers Really “Without Their Best Player”?

As the NBA tips off its Christmas Day games Wednesday, the Indiana Pacers are 21-10, sixth in the Eastern Conference, just one game behind second-place Boston in the standings, all “without their best player having played one second,” as just about all of Pacers Twitter has said in some form or fashion. Indiana owns wins over the Celtics, Lakers, and Raptors in just the last two weeks alone. Sure, they’ve been thumped by double digits by the Bucks (twice) and Clippers, but c’mon, that just means they lost to the favorites to make up the 2020 NBA Finals. Of course …

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The 19-9 Indiana Pacers Are Passing the Good Teams Test

For the observant, Pacers “Tuesday” is once again running on Wednesday this week. The difference is that this week, it’s because how this column was going to turn out was in the balance right up until Domantas Sabonis made a free throw to put the Pacers up 3, good defense forced a bad shot on the ensuing possession, and Indiana beat the freaking Los Angeles Lakers 105-102 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, sending LeBron James and his jolly band of mercenaries back to Tinseltown with their delusional Twitter following brim-full of excuses as they learn for the first time that you …

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Pacers Fans and Paul George: A Win-Win

The Los Angeles Clippers went into Bankers Life Fieldhouse and spanked the Indiana Pacers 110-99 in front of a bunch of fans still bitter over the OG Anthony Davis situation that was the drama involving Paul George forcing his way out of town after the 2017 season. George erupted for 36 points on 10-of-26 shooting after a rough start, hitting 7-of-16 from long range and posting a game-high plus-20 during his 36 minutes on the floor, showing the NBA in the process that the “load management” of Kawhi Leonard doesn’t look like any more of a liability for the 2nd-in-the-West …

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Myles Turner Vs. the Filthy Casuals

One of the problems with social media is it gives an equal forum to experts and idiots, watering down the discussion and often drowning out nuanced discussion with the bleating of Orwellian sheep. And while the first thing one might immediately think of is politics and “the death of democracy” (how’s that for irony when the idea is to give everyone a voice?), sports suffer from it far more insidiously. Take Myles Turner for example. The Indiana Pacers standout is averaging 12.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 31.1 minutes per game, causing a certain subset of Pacers Twitter …

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Indiana Pacers: By the Numbers Through 16 Games

The Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching, and before we all head out on congested roads for plywood turkey, salmonella stuffing, that uncle that nobody can stand any of the other 364 days of the year, and riots masquerading as commerce on Black Friday, let us take a moment to examine whether the Indiana Pacers, at 10-6 following a win Monday over the Memphis Grizzlies, are overwhelming, underwhelming, or merely whelming statistically. Pardon my lack of my normal erudition in this space; I work back office for a retailer and it’s been my job to make sure the point of sale …

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How Well Do the Indiana Pacers Force Other Teams Into Bad Shots?

On Sunday in this space, I introduced the D’Antoni Index, a stat that combines three hallmarks of efficient basketball—3-pointers, shots near the rim, and free throws—into one handy stat that can be compared team to team and game to game against either a team itself (do they improve during the season?) or against the league (by using league average as the “index” part of the stat’s name.) The worst team in the league for D’Antoni Index is, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Indiana Pacers, one reason the #FireNate chants echo across Twitter every time the Pacers lose a …

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Don’t Let the Indiana Pacers’ 7-4 Start Fool You. They Have Major Issues.

The Indiana Pacers have started this season 7-4 after clobbering the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-85 on Tuesday night. They have won seven of eight after starting the season 0-3, Domantas Sabonis has been in beast mode ever since Myles Turner got hurt, and Malcolm Brogdon has emerged as a genuine All-Star-caliber player now that he’s out of the shadow of Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. Everything should be sunshine and lollipops, especially with Victor Oladipo engaging in full court practice with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants squad today, right? Wrong. Because behind that 7-4 facade is an edifice that isn’t on …

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Making Sense of the Indiana Pacers’ 3-Game Renaissance

The Indiana Pacers started the 2019-20 season 0-3 and fans started to wonder if perhaps the team should tank for the first overall draft pick, all while wondering before a single college basketball game that counts has yet been played who’s going to be this year’s Zion Williamson. Then Jeremy Lamb came back, Goga Bitadze learned practically overnight how to basketball, T.J. Leaf had a whole NBA game in which he managed to not suck, Malcolm Brogdon emerged as the MVP, and now the team is 3-3 and “we’re going to win the championship!” The reality is somewhere in the …

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T.J. Warren and the “Loser’s Mentality”

In the earliest days of my writing career, I covered boxing, specifically as a beat writer reporting on ESPN’s old Friday Night Fights series between 2011 and 2013 (and again during the 2015 season.) On that show, which featured up-and-coming fighters getting TV exposure on their way to a title shot, there were plenty of guys who built up gaudy records on the club circuit but could never translate that into success at even the “mid-major” (to put it in college basketball terms) level. Those guys, once they’d lost a few close decisions or been knocked out once or twice, …

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Hey Indiana Pacers! Nate McMillan Needs to be Fired. Now.

It is not normally considered good form to complain about the coach based on one game of an 82-game season. But for the Indiana Pacers, they should’ve fired Nate McMillan…well, they never should’ve hired him in the first place, but if last year wasn’t enough to convince them to take the franchise in a new direction leadership-wise, then what’s it going to take? And I don’t want to hear the argument “but they won 48 games!” Yes they did. Because they have a ton of talent that in the right hands with the right offense could win 60 in any …

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