Pacers Predictive Postmortem on the Playoff Precipice

In 2016, the Memphis Grizzlies started the season 39-26 before a combination of injuries to Mike Conley and Marc Gasol led to a downright violent regression to the mean that left them 3-14 in their last 17 regular-season games before meekly bowing out to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs via sweep. In 2019, the Indiana Pacers started the season 40-20, even initially staying strong despite an injury to Victor Oladipo in January. But that injury, plus a vicious toughening of the schedule, led to the team finishing 4-9 in their last 13 regular-season games …

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Breakfast Special: Blowouts! Nothing But Blowouts!

There were 12 games in the NBA Wednesday night. The only ones that were close were meaningless games between non-playoff teams, so you can guess how the Lightning Round’s going today. But first, we’ve got three games with pretty meaningful playoff implications, even if all of them were clobberings. Nugget Revenge The last time the Nuggets and Spurs faced off, in San Antonio, Denver got sent down by the squeakiest of margins, losing by a single point. For the return engagement in Denver, the Nuggets left nothing to chance and destroyed the Spurs 113-85. Nikola Jokic had 20 points, 11 …

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Teammate of the Year? They Should Call it the Thaddeus Young Award

This week’s edition is brought to you in part by Pacers Twitter, who were collectively and understandably getting sick of the doom and gloom inherent in this weekly department ever since the team went 4-10 in March and…ahem, I’m doing it again, aren’t I? So the preview of the Celtics series, a hit piece on Tyreke Evans, a comparison to the 2016 Grizzlies…all of those will have to run some other time. This week, we’re talking about the greatest teammate and glue guy in the NBA if not in all of sports, the one, the only Thaddeus Young. Specifically, Young’s …

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Breakfast Special: Angry Sabonis Is Best Sabonis

Journalistic integrity and standards are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I really wanted today’s headline to be “Breakfast Special: Great Job, Motherf—er” to give proper credit to Domantas Sabonis after his first-rate outburst at the referees following his sixth foul in the Indiana Pacers’ 111-102 win over the Detroit Pistons Monday night. On the other hand, Pace and Space is a content partner with Basketball Reference and I’m pretty sure their editorial staff would be less than pleased by one of their content partners providing them with a headline—even a censored one—featuring Samuel L. Jackson’s favorite word. So …

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Bojan Bogdanovic Used To Suck. Like, Really Suck.

The fact that Andrew Wiggins sucks isn’t exactly news. It is, however, a fun read. But in the course of doing the research for that Wiggins article, I discovered something that simply has to merit mention in the Pacers-related portion of the programming around here. Specifically, the fact that Bojan Bogdanovic‘s emergence as the leading scorer, defensive glue guy, and all around good egg for the Pacers over the past two seasons has been one of the unlikeliest career turnarounds possibly in the history of the league. Consider Bojan’s 2015-16 season and his Big 5 advanced stats: A 10.7 PER, …

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Breakfast Special: Meet the New West, Same as the Old West

Last year, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets faced off in “the real Finals” as the two top seeds in the Western Conference doing battle for the right to stomp Cleveland in the all-over-but-the-shouting championship series, the most anticlimactic gold medal game since the US beat Finland after polishing off the Soviet Union in the Miracle On Ice Game at the 1980 Winter Olympics. This year, the Denver Nuggets entered Sunday in first place, leading the Warriors by half a game and forcing a would-be Golden State vs. Houston rematch into the second round of the playoffs as the …

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Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner: The Best Team on League Pass

Most of the time, this weekly department that serves as my outlet for blatant fanboying (or believing the sky is falling, depending on how many rebounds Myles Turner had the previous week) contains a good bit of actual basketball analysis. But get yourself a tall glass of Kinetico water and wash down your meal of smothered chicken, because this week it’s time for nothing but praise for the best local announcing duo in sports, Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner of Fox Sports Indiana, whose dulcet tones and willingness to avoid too-blatant homerism (Tommy Heinsohn in Boston, looking squarely at you) …

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Breakfast Special: A Thunderous Collapse in Indianapolis

Ave Sabonis, we who are about to highlight film salute you. As the Ides of March dawn, the Indiana Pacers, far from being four games into an 11-game losing streak like your reverse-jinxing columnist predicted Tuesday, have now won two big games at home to get to 44-25, retain their hold on third place in the Eastern Conference, and give their fans…optimism (?!) heading into a monstrous Western swing on the road. Russell Westbrook got his triple-double, of course, scoring 19 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and dishing 11 assists. Paul George, in his old building against his old team (such …

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Breakfast Special: Competitive Games Are For Suckers

The NBA put on seven games for the entertainment of the viewing public Tuesday night. Only two of them were anyone’s idea of competitive in the fourth quarter, and a third finished with the tightest final score margin (five) but the team that won was up 14 with little enough time left in the game that it would’ve been bonkers had they not put the game on ice (give it up for Darren Collison, and we’ll get to the Pacers-Knicks game shortly.) The rest of them were either double-digit blowouts or a Spurs-Mavs game where every time Dallas looked like …

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Dispatches From An 11-Game Pacers Losing Streak

As I sit here writing this, the Indiana Pacers are preparing to play against the New York Knicks at home, the only game in an 11-game stretch in which Indiana is the unquestioned favorite. Which has, every other time I’ve been watching this team in the four seasons I’ve been a basketball writer, augured a horrendous performance and a brutal, disappointing, “how did you lose to THAT tanking Dumpster fire at home?” game. Tyreke Evans is missing the game for “personal reasons”, which is a nice little euphemism for his contracting a case of Butler’s Disease. Domantas Sabonis looks like …

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