Yes it has been fun for the past few weeks, and yes the guys have played extremely well. Their 13-6 record in the past 19 games is no fluke, I give the current players a ton of credit and I give the coaching staff all the credit in the world.
However, I have a real worry right now. Let me first say I thought after the 1st quarter the Pacers played fine today. The Knicks played very well for them and they won fair and square. Pacers had their chances but could not close the Knicks out. If the Knicks played like this more often, they would be in the playoff hunt.
So my fear has nothing to do with todays game.
My fear: the Pacers players are dead tired right now. AJ, Reggie, Jax, and Dale have been pushed to their limits. Dale was subpar in the first half today, but was able to play a pretty good 2nd half, but overall he looks very tired to me.
AJ has been pushed beyond his limits if you ask me. He played great today, but looking at him on the bench, he looked spent physically. He does not have much left.
Reggie knows his career is about over so he likely will be able to push through, but I worry about him being able to keep this pace up at his age.
Jackson who never seems to get tired has a bad ankle and hamstring and seems like he is getting mentally tired. And that is when he makes some mistakes.
Those are the 4 key players right now that are leading the team.
I really don't know how much longer those 4 guys are carry the load, the schedule does not let up until the regular season is over, never having more than 1 day between games.
As Reggie said the Pacers have been playing playoff basketball for a few weeks now, and I believe it is starting to show. So when the playoff do start, their is not another gear to click into and I fear the team being mentally and physically exhausted. There were times in the game today when the energy was poor, like the guys could not bring it.
Reggie, Dale and AJ have been pushed and forced to play much larger roles and I don't know how much longer they can keep it up