Welcome to the Daily NBA Fix for Monday, April 13, the morning after the Indiana Pacers reclaimed control of the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Indiana has been bad of late and the Pacers headed into Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder just 8-13 since March 4. The Pacers had been 46-13 up to that point.
But the Pacers looked like the Pacers of the early part of the season on Sunday, at least for parts of the game, as they reduced their magic number for clinching home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs to one with a 102-97 win.
Indiana got a bit carried away with its success through the first three-quarters or so of the season, a point not lost on their veteran leader, David West.
“Most of us have never been in that position before,” West told reporters. “Since I’ve gotten here and most of the guys, with the exception of Evan [Turner], everybody is sort of under-drafted, not drafted or simply passed over. Everybody’s attitude has been with the underdog mind-frame.
“Then you get out front, nobody doubts you because you have a five-game lead and everybody is pumping you up. I don’t think we handled that the best. Only way you can deal with it is to go through it and experience it. That’s what we’ve done.”
If the Pacers can get back to what pushed them to the NBA’s best record before their last season slump, it could put Indiana back in play as a potential heir to the Miami Heat’s Eastern Conference crown.
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).