Depressing loss against a lottery team. The Pacers looked like they were the better team on paper and acted like they could turn it on at any minute to pull the game away. Unfortunately, that never happened.
Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes of all people just killed the Pacers, who unbelievably, still held a 1-point lead heading into the fourth. But the 76ers turned it on and the Pacers spluttered until it was too late. They hit a few big shots to pull a little closer but they never threatened after the half-way mark in the fourth, losing a dispirited 98-91 road game to drop to 40-26 for the season.
David West got into some awful foul trouble early in the game which swung things around. Paul George couldn't hit anything again. As coach Frank Vogel suggested, the team was hitting a wall and needed to grind through it heading towards the playoffs. They have a perfect opportunity to grab the 2nd seed with both hands as the Knicks are struggling with injuries, but instead the Pacers have continued to cough up their chances.
The 2nd seed is more important than it looks as the Pacers will want to avoid the Celtics, who are currently in 6th place. If the Pacers can lock up the second seed they will likely play the Hawks, who are not a walkover by any means but will be slightly less dangerous than a prideful Boston team on its last legs.
PS: Roy Hibbert started off well but missed a ton of shots late. He finished with 25 and 10, but shot just 9-26 from the field. On the whole, still a positive thing to see as the Pacers could really use his offense in the playoffs.