The Pacers' magical mystery tour to the NBA Cup continues
Another Tyrese Haliburton masterpiece. More excellence from Myles Turner. Great work from Aaron Nesmith, T.J. McConnell and Andrew Nembhard. The Vegas party rolls on.
MY COUCH, Ind. – However this hugely satisfying and wildly entertaining In-Season Tournament ends, with the Pacers winning the NBA Cup or finishing second, it can’t be a one-off for this franchise.
No, no, no. Now we expect more. Now that we’ve seen what they can be and what they are when they play a modicum of defense, it’s imperative that this team takes the next step and reaches the post-season and, who knows, maybe does a little something in the playoffs. This has got to be the springboard to better things.
As much fun as all of this is – and there will be a watch party at Gainbridge Saturday night, which should be a blast – it’s still just December. The added money is nice, especially for the players on the lower end of the payroll, but the springtime is when it matters most.
But now we know what’s possible. Now we know they can beat the best teams in the league, at least in a win-or-go-home situation. They’ve beaten the Cavs, the Hawks, the Sixers, the Celtics, the Bucks (and, um, the Pistons) to reach the tournament final, an impressive stretch of success. What this now means, though, is they can’t have those stinkers at home, like the losses to Charlotte, Chicago and Portland.
The bar has been raised. Significantly.