By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — The Indiana Pacers are on the brink of completing a special kind of collapse.
No *playoff team of the last 20 years suffered a greater point differential drop-off from before the All-Star break to after it. And now, Indiana is a game away from becoming just the sixth No. 1 seed to lose to an 8 seed in the first round.
* The only team of the last 20 years that suffered a bigger drop-off in NetRtg (point differential per 100 possessions) was the 2011-12 Portland Trail Blazers, who went from outscoring teams by 5.3 points per 100 possessions before the break to getting outscored by 7.7 after it.
What’s interesting is that other teams that have suffered big collapses after the All-Star break (and still made the playoffs) have done just fine in the postseason. The teams with the next two biggest collapses won the championship. And the two teams after that pulled off first-round upsets.
Biggest drop-off, pre-to-post-break NetRtg among playoff teams since 1994-95
|2013-14||Indiana||+8.6||-2.1||-10.7||1||Down 3-2 in first round|
|2004-05||San Antonio||+12.3||+3.3||-9.1||2||Won Finals|
|1995-96||Houston||+4.9||-2.8||-7.7||5||Lost in conf. semis|
|2010-11||Atlanta||+1.1||-6.6||-7.7||5||Lost in conf. semis|
|2002-03||Utah||+5.5||-1.5||-7.0||7||Lost in first round|
|2004-05||Seattle||+4.5||-2.1||-6.6||3||Lost in conf. semis|
|2002-03||New Jersey||+7.7||+1.3||-6.4||2||Lost in Finals|
|2012-13||San Antonio||+9.0||+2.6||-6.3||2||Lost in Finals|
|2009-10||L.A. Lakers||+6.9||+0.8||-6.2||1||Won Finals|
There’s a stronger correlation between how well a team does in the playoffs and how well they did before the break than how well they did after it. Of the 36 teams who made The Finals since 1994-95 (not counting the ’98-99 lockout season), 22 had a better NetRtg before the break than after it.
But no playoff team dropped off as much as this year’s Pacers. That they remained the No. 1 seed is truly amazing. This has been a special kind of collapse and it could be over after Game 6 in Atlanta on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NBA TV).