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NBA 2018-19 Playoff Chances: The Indiana Pacers and the difficult road ahead

Shubham Pant
ANALYST
Feature
208   //    07 Mar 2019, 20:44 IST

The Indiana Pacers have been a great team in the past with Paul George and have made the playoffs for the last 3 seasons in a row. But last season, even after swapping out their only star in Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, nobody expected them to be good, but they exceeded all expectations to make the playoffs and lose in a really close series with the LeBron-led Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-3. With LeBron James out of the Eastern Conference and the Pacers at a really great 3rd spot in the East this season, let us find out what their playoff chances look like:

Indiana Pacers have been a really good team this season
Indiana Pacers have been a really good team this season

Positive Signs:

1. Teamwork and Chemistry

The Indiana Pacers were the surprise package of the NBA 2018-19 season. Everyone expected them to be good this season, but with Oladipo missing games due to injury in the beginning of the season, expectations were not as high. But the Pacers were amazing, even when Oladipo joined and made the previous "Big 4" of the Eastern Conference into a "Big 5".

They were 3rd in the league and cruising really well and the biggest aspect of their success was the amazing teamwork they had. Lack of selfish plays and no real superstars to command all their attention, the Pacers had great team chemistry which had led to such unprecedented success for them.

But once Oladipo went down with a knee injury and was declared out for the season, nobody expected the Pacers to keep this going. But the Pacers proved everyone wrong again and are still 3rd in the Eastern Conference, ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. Their teamwork and team chemistry is taking them to new heights even without Victor Oladipo and that is huge positive for them.

2. Domantas Sabonis

Sabonis has been one of the most improved players this season in the NBA. His rookie season with the Oklahoma City Thunder proved to be a disaster as he could not get anything going there and his role was pretty undefined too.

He was traded to the Indiana Pacers along with Victor Oladipo for Paul George and since then has been a revelation. He quickly became a force to reckon with in the paint and could play both as a stretch 4 and 5. This season, he had become even more prolific with some super field goal percentages and is averaging a career high in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goals taken and field goals made. His rise has been a real high point for the Pacers as they seemed to have found a diamond in the rough with Domantas Sabonis.

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