The 33-point loss to the L.A. Clippers serves as a measuring stick for the Indiana Pacers.
One of the three favorites to win the NBA title along with the L.A. Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, the Clippers got what they wanted inside (layups) and out (open 3s) — the two shots opposing defenses want to limit the most.
Indiana Pacers guard Cheap Edmond Sumner Jersey (5) defends against Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
When Cheap Paul George Jersey and Kawhi Leonard decided to put it out of reach, they did.
The Clippers also are prone to lapses themselves. They’ve been beaten by 51 themselves. It all underscores the need for common sense in a 72-game season.
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The Pacers’ manufactured starting lineup played mostly even with the Clippers. They lacked scoring behind that group to sustain any momentum.
Going in, the plan was for Indiana to be playing its best basketball going into the postseason — not before All-Star break.
In the previous two seasons in which the Pacers stormed out of the gates, they were swept in the first round of their playoff series.
They still wouldn’t have won vs. Boston or Miami, but they’d gotten predictable and lacked the innovation needed to prevent a sweep.
Coach Nate Bjorkgren has yet to get back Cheap Jeremy Lamb Jersey, who could be ready to play any day for the first time in a year since tearing his left knee ligament and breaking his leg.
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The returns of Cheap T.J. Warren Jersey and Cheap Caris LeVert Jersey have yet to be determined but they’ll add more wrinkles to an offense. Both are scorers first.
In the meantime, McDermott has gotten better. He’s more than a catch-and-shoot 3-point specialist.
Bjorkgren is using him on both sides of the floor. In the past, McDermott has only played on the left side which allowed him to go to his strong hand. Playing on the right side requires him to use his weak hand to get to the rim but also it forces defenses to work harder to take him away.
Turner has proven more versatile offensively as he’s gotten the green light to handle the ball up top and attack mismatches off the bounce.
The spacing with the other starting big, Cheap Domantas Sabonis Jersey, has opened more possibilities for both.
There are a few months for that to develop, but whoever the Pacers are now isn’t who they’ll be for the playoffs.
This isn’t anything like the 46-point loss to the Toronto Raptors last season which was telling about the Pacers.
That team lacked the discipline. It lacked fire.
This version isn’t the Clippers, but the gulf between them isn’t as big as it appeared Sunday.