The Indiana Pacers, who some believe are ready to take down LeBron James and the back-to-back NBA champion Miami Heat, are down and out. Losers of their last three games, the Pacers decided recently to discuss their bewilderment in an impromptu meeting, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN’s Heat Index.
The Pacers, though, are still tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the best record in the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks, who host Indiana on Sunday tonight, have to get out to a quick start at home so as to not allow the Pacers to regain their confidence. Of course, whenever the Mavericks get out to a quick start, that normally means a big lead is about to get blown.
The biggest reason, though, the Pacers have risen to NBA-elite level is also the reason they have the doldrums right now — MVP-candidate Paul George. He has been a monstrosity — in a good way — of epic proportions this season, both on the offensive and defensive end. As Dirk Nowotzki knows, carrying a team on your back like that can cause it to flare up here and there, and George, who has been battling back pain, has scored just 15 points combined in the Pacers’ previous two games.
The Mavericks can’t let George get comfortable. Shawn Marion and company need to press up against George whenever the guy gets the ball in order to remind him of that back pain. In other words, the Mavericks need to kick the Pacers while they’re down, and ride the momentum of their thrilling win over the Portland Trail Blazers.