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NBA Houston RocketsIndiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers Can’t Keep Pace With NBA’s Elite Teams

Roy Hibbert in Pacers loss

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers vs. Houston Rockets game had the ingredients of becoming an exciting matchup between two teams with NBA Finals aspirations. Most would assume the Pacers would bounce back after Paul George’s terrible showing resulted in a 22-point blowout loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. Instead, the Pacers didn’t show up to play yet again and never had a realistic shot at keeping this one competitive.

After falling behind 27-16 in the 1st quarter, the Pacers fought back to cut the lead to 50-43 at halftime. From that point on, the Rockets did any and everything they wanted. Indiana then found themselves losing the 3rd quarter by 22-points, and watching Houston’s reserves come in for closing duty. The Pacers would finally be put out of their misery after a 112-86 thrashing in Houston.

This is more than just a bad loss to a very streaky team. This is more than a bad loss to the Bobcats. The Eastern Conference leading Pacers have now lost three-straight games, while the Miami Heat have the top overall seed in their sites. The team that many have deemed a potential NBA Finals contender is now showing no resilience, heart, teamwork or ability to win.

I don’t want to overanalyze this three-game losing streak, but for a team that looks to compete for a championship, it’s definitely not a good sign. While teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers and Heat seem to improve on a nightly basis, Indiana is hitting a slump in the thick of the playoff race. That said, this could be more than just a few game skid for the Pacers, but it’s proof that the Paul George led Pacers aren’t ready to take that championship step with the NBA’s elite teams.

Cody Daniel is a Big 12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.