5 Keys For Pacers Playoff Run
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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a discussion hardly anyone could have honestly anticipated to have back in the fall.
But here we are, asking such a question: What do the Pacers need to do to get on a playoff run?
Yes, the Pacers are in the playoffs, and they have shown plenty of signs this season of a team that can win a playoff series, and perhaps make things a little more interesting, in a Eastern Conference filled with uncertainty.
Here are 5 keys to the Pacers playing basketball into the month of May:
Get All-Star Victor
Oladipo found his groove to end the regular season. And that’s an absolute must for the Pacers to make any noise this spring.
Everyone knows the numbers of how poor the Pacers have played with Oladipo out of the lineup (0-7 with an average loss of 14 points per game).
Teams know those numbers, so they are going to do everything they can to make sure the Pacers have to play left-handed, by trying to take Oladipo out of the game.
Even with the attention growing at Oladipo in the new year, he re-gained his All-Star form late in the season.
After slumping a bit around the All-Star break, Oladipo was a consistent, above 50 percent, shooter from the floor in the final 2 weeks of the season.
Consistent Myles Is A Must
Honestly, Nate McMillan should be really content if Myles Turner can give the Pacers his season average (13 points and 6 rebounds) during the playoffs.
Inconsistency has plagued Turner in his 3rd NBA season and he has struggled majorly as of late.
Can Turner string together a few games in the playoffs, after showing more capable signs of a physical/back to the basket big man immediately after the All-Star break?
Is Turner the X-factor for the Pacers making a push to the 2nd round (or even beyond) in the postseason?
Many would say that.
Thrive In Late-Game Situations
One of the great attributes for the Pacers this season has been how they’ve closed out games.
They are 11-2 in games decided by 3 points or less.
Victor Oladipo has embraced, and delivered, in a closer role.
Playoff basketball more often than not comes down to how teams handle late-game situations.
It’s a different type of pressure in the postseason, but the Pacers were a team in the regular season that made the necessary plays late.
Career Seasons Tricking Into Postseason
Let’s put Victor Oladipo aside for a second.
The Pacers have gotten career years out of Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Returning to Indiana this season, Collison has been as steady as they come handling the basketball and led the NBA in three-point percentage, too.
Bogdanovic has gone from more of a role player in previous stops to the Pacers’ 2nd leading scorer. Outside of Oladipo, no success of a Pacers’ player had a stronger correlation to wins and losses this season than Bogdanovic.
Collison and Bogdanovic have been the ideal starting lineup fits for the Pacers. Their ability to stretch the floor is vital around the dynamic Oladipo.
Bench Providing Punch
In seasons past, a spotty bench has undeniably cost the Pacers in the postseason.
On paper, this year’s group of reserves in Indiana should give Nate McMillan much more comfort in turning to some of those guys.
Cory Joseph, Lance Stephenson and Domantas Sabonis have all routinely closed out games for the Pacers this season. Joseph and Stephenson also have important playoff experience. Even Glenn Robinson III has added some punch as of late.
The bench is no longer an Achilles heel for the Pacers. This is a group that will be counted on a good amount in the coming weeks.