Pacers Locked Into 5 Seed, Awaiting First Round Opponent
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Pacers (48-34) are done with the 2017-18 regular season.
They are the 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and will open up the playoffs on the road this weekend.
As far as concluding the regular season, the Pacers capped things on Tuesday night, in a meaningless game for playoff seeding.
Indiana fell 119-93 to the Charlotte Hornets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nate McMillan elected to rest Victor Oladipo (sore toe), Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic. If Tuesday’s game mattered, McMillan said all 3 of those starters would have been available to play.
With the Pacers resting 3 starters on Tuesday, they went with Darren Collison, Lance Stephenson, Glenn Robinson III, Trevor Booker and Myles Turner in the starting lineup.
The reserves played a ton on Tuesday night, although Turner continued his late-season struggles with 2 points and 3 rebounds in 21 minutes on the floor.
Even though the Pacers will have Wednesday night off, they will be watching intently to find out their playoff opponent.
Indiana could be traveling to Philadelphia (51-30) or Cleveland (50-31) in Round One.
Right now, the Pacers are slotted to play the Cavs in the first round.
For the Pacers to play the 76ers in Round One, they will need Philly to lose to the Bucks (44-37) on Wednesday and have the Cavs beat the Knicks (28-53).
The Pacers won the season series over both the 76ers (2-1) and the Cavs (3-1), although Cleveland has re-tooled its roster since the two teams last met in January.
After taking Wednesday off, the Pacers will return to practice on Thursday to prepare for their playoff opener this weekend.
“There’s another level that you need to go to and really that level is the focus,” McMillan said of the postseason after Wednesday’s regular season finale. “Understanding that every possession you’ve got to be locked into on both ends of the floor.
“The play that we had during the regular season is not going to be good enough come postseason. Because you’re going to be playing against a better team. In our case, we’re a higher-seeded team. You have to be looking at the things you’ve conditioned yourself to do all season long. That’s defensively and offensively. You can’t make a lot of mistakes. We’re not going to be picked or favored to win, pretty much like the start of the season for us. We’ve got to be the aggressors no matter who we play.”
What’s Next: The Pacers (48-34) finished the season nearly 20 wins above the over/under set for this team at the start of the year. They will start the postseason on the road this weekend.