Pacers Have Already Eclipsed Over/Under For Them This Season
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INDIANAPOLIS – No NBA team has exceeded expectations more so than the Indiana Pacers (32-25).
Before the 2017-18 season started, the Pacers seemed destined to be in the lottery come June.
The gurus in Vegas pinned down an over/under of 31.5 wins for the new-look Pacers.
Yours truly predicted 36 wins for the Pacers, and that was a number many considered too high for a team having just traded away Paul George.
Nate McMillan won’t say whether he used the lack of pre-season expectations to inspire his bunch coming into the season.
Although, it’s hard to imagine any coach totally ignoring such a ‘sitting on the tee’ motivating tactic.
“I don’t want to get into what I use for motivation,” McMillan says before eventually offering a slight smile. “I did see that (over/under number). I focus on the team that we have and trying to build a team to put themselves in position to win.”
Well, they’ve certainly won this season.
With 25 games remaining in the regular season, the Pacers have already eclipsed the over/under number that came in the preseason.
Indiana is on pace to win 46 games this season. In games Victor Oladipo has played, they are on pace to win 51 games.
“We, as a team, we believed in what we had,” veteran forward Thaddeus Young says of the team’s mindset in the preseason. “We focused in and locked in. We can beat any team that’s out there. We can beat any team on a given night, even the best teams. We just go out there and play. We take it day-by-day, game-by-game and we use each and every other player on the roster.
"We focused in (this preseason). We believe in our natural attributes as a team. We know who we are as a team. We know how to play as a team and we know how to go out there and execute as a team.”
Young quickly points out that this season is a ‘reloading’ campaign in Indiana, and not a ‘rebuilding’ year.
In October, saying the Pacers were a serious contender to win a playoff series this season was laughable.
No one is laughing now.
It’s the truth, and a major reason why Kevin Pritchard did not feel the need to make a move at the trade deadline.
“We felt like this team deserved the opportunity to get into the playoffs themselves,” Pritchard says.
“They wanted to prove some people wrong. Let’s see if they can do it.”