Welcome to the Daily NBA Fix for Monday, April 7, the morning after the Indiana Pacers looked about as far from a team competing for a top seed could look.
The Pacers put up a franchise-record low 23 points in the first half of a 107-88 drubbing at home Sunday, losing to an Atlanta Hawks team that came in losers of seven of their last nine games.
It’s almost hard to fathom how it could get any worse for the Pacers—booed off the court at halftime while trailing 55-23. It’s almost impossible to imagine a scenario where it gets much lower than Roy Hibbert going 0-for-5 in nine minutes and getting to watch the entire second half from a courtside seat.
So now it is Indiana that it 2-7 in its last nine games and 9-12 since March 1.
The amazing part of this stretch for the Pacers is this: At the end of February, Indiana led the Miami Heat by two games for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. After Sunday’s debacle against the Hawks, the Heat lead the Pacers by a single game.
That’s right—for as badly as Indiana had played over the last five weeks, Miami has only made up three games in the standings.
If there’s anyone who should be heartened by that, it would be the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets—three teams who have played well over the last several weeks and who might go into the playoffs harboring illusions of making the Eastern Conference about something more than Pacers vs. Heat.
We all concluded that’s how the East would be won months ago. Looking at what’s happening on the court now, maybe we shouldn’t be so sure about that.
The Daily NBA Fix will deliver highlights, game capsules, the top and bottom five players, the dreaded Goose Egg, Clean and Sober and Ironman awards, we’ll recap who’s circling the drain, there will be some interesting pieces of relevant (and not-so-relevant) information and we’ll look at today’s daily lines for those people who like to wager a buck or two.
Check out the highlights below from the night that was, then get into the game capsules (home teams in CAPS).