As I am sure I have mentioned many times before on here, Benton, Marris and myself will often text back and forth in a group text as we watch games live on TV. We often would beg for the Pacers to put a team away when they would accumulate a nice double digit lead in the 2nd or 3rd period. We regularly were disappointed as we watched that lead evaporate and sometimes even become a deficit by the 4th quarter and we were back to biting our nails over whether or not the Pacers could put it back together and pull out the "W". Paul George, P.G., went as far as suggesting the Pacers did this for the season as well earlier this week, saying the Pacers "peaked to soon" in the season resulting in a very painful final few months of the season and a far more challenging/disappointing playoff run than anticipated. As we approach the upcoming NBA season, especially after losing Lance, a number of people, the writers of this blog included, are point to the Pacers needs for this upcoming season. Most people, quite correctly, are pointing to the lack of a true assist man in the starting lineup and more bench production as key components to the success of this team. I would agree with both, but I would go farther to saying they need, on top of that, to find that killer instinct. It is not uncommon for an athlete, once they have a bit of a lead, to start to mentally shut down and start thinking about what they are having for dinner after the game, where they are traveling to next, or their next opponent. The Pacers fell into this trap a number of times, particularly against weaker teams. There is a time and a place for relaxing a bit, but finishing the team off first would probably be a good idea.
Thanks for reading,