He’s probably right. The Pacers definitely took a step in that direction with Sunday’s 97-92 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Granted, it’s just a regular-season game. But the Pacers now have a four-game lead over Chicago in the Central Division, and have secured the tie-breaker if necessary – so it’s Indiana’s to lose. Very few individuals predicted the Pacers would be better than the Bulls this season. There’s plenty of factors for that, No. 1 being the outstanding play of West.
Against the Bulls in a pressure-packed game, West was extremely cool with 31 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. The Pacers couldn’t have asked for a much better performance under the circumstances.
West was almost perfect in his 36 minutes of action. He was 11-of-18 from the floor and 9-of-9 in free throws while also grabbing seven rebounds and two steals.
But it’s been typical of what West has accomplished all season. He’s averaging 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game. His shooting average remains healthy at 49.3 percent. It’s been around 50 percent his entire career, which has always made West a dangerous player.
Against the Bulls, West knew what was at stake and the pressure of the game brought out the best in him.
That’s why the Pacers have a chance to make a strong run in the playoffs this season. If West plays at his best, then Indiana will also be at its best.