Pacers’ collapse unlike any other

By John Schuhmann,

VIDEO: Pacers vs. Hawks: Game 6 Preview

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

Season Team Pre-break Post-break Diff. Seed Result
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
2011-12 Miami +11.1 +3.0 -8.1 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).


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  2. LeBrontourage says:

    The collapse reminds me of the 2004 Pacers. They were a great team, and then, well, Ron Artest happened in Detroit, and after that fight the whole team was pretty much ruined; players suspended for 20+ games, loss of momentum, and lack of motivation. I don’t think they’ll blow the roster up after this, but expect a Hibbert trade if and when Indiana is eliminated early.

  3. mike says:

    I have to laugh at all the Pacer Haters! There are so many boys with Man Crushes on Lebron and hate it that the Pacers have home court!

  4. Stuman914 says:

    Turner was a black hole for the sixers, the ball went in and never came out. For a developing team thats fine. I think the sixers were stupid to get rid of him. But a veteran suceesful team like the Pacers its hard to swallow but face the facts Pacers fans. Turner has ruined their chemistry and you dont fix something when its not broken.

  5. A.J. says:

    Speaking of “idiots,” how ’bout these comments. When they acquired Turner, they won the next 5. Granger, as usual, got hurt again.

  6. overaffe says:

    i think the granger trade was deemed necessary because they saw grangers return to play affect pg’s confidence. I think in hindsight they dealt with that badly, it could have been resolved by him on the team by having granger and george start, and sidelining stevenson. pg would be out of position but that would make the transition to granger being 6th man easier. but really paul george needs to man up, you cant baby people like that, so thats probably why bird traded granger. pg has come back though, its stevensons selfish bs and hibberts disdain for it thats fing up team morale now. the funny answer to all of it, is run the offense though david west, george hill and scola.

  7. Blog-So-Hard says:

    ????????????? 2014 Indiana Pacers ??????????????

  8. Hunter says:

    Yeah, I think Bird is to blame on this. Granger brought bench depthness and he was a proven veteran. Bird basically gave him the bird and hired a center with bum knees and an overwhelmed kid from the sixers. I hate to say it but the Pacers are not getting out of the east. let alone maybe the first round. How sad.

  9. anil verma says:

    In NBA, every team can beat each other on their day. Indiana will definitely make a come back. Coaches. Directors should not be blamed for the losses.

  10. cp10 says:

    What is the deal with this team, is it internal issues? Too much pressure? Larry Bird called them soft, Sir Charles called them wussies, maybe that’s the problem, when the president of the team is so critical it hurts.

  11. Marcus says:

    Larry Bird is an idiot for trading away Danny Granger and adding Evan Turner.

    Why mess with something that isn’t broken?

    Now their chemistry is all screwed up, they have players fighting each other in practice, and Roy Hibbert has lost all his confidence.

    Even if the Pacers win the series (which is not likely), they will be eaten apart by the Raptors/Nets.

  12. Kenneth Stallworth says:

    I think they did a little to much of messing with the chemistry of the team. Last year the pacers had a mix of players that wanted to prove themselves and also played tough. I don’t like the way Tyler Hansborough plays basketball. But he’s a tough player who knows how to play basketball. Same thing with Miles Plumlee, and D.J. Augustin they were tough players who understood their role on the team and played it well. Also it takes a long time to be a championship team. You can’t say because we pushed the eventual champions to a game seven in the ECF that now we are ready to take the next step. There are going to be some ups and downs. People think basketball is easy because guys like LeBron make it look that way. If you don’t have LeBron you have to get on the path to play competitive basketball and stay on that path getting better and better. You have to continue to work on your skills everyday and continue gel as a unit. Its just a longer process when you don’t have LeBron that’s all.

    • A.J. says:

      What? Augustin was terrible with the Pacers, both during the regular season and during the playoffs. Plumlee never played. What are you talking about?

  13. esc says:

    Why don’t you guys man-up and place the blame squarely where it belongs. It was the bone-headed decision of Larry Bird to dicombobulate this organization by trading Granger. The team has downward sprialled since. Check the record since the trade by Larry (want-to-be-a-legend) Bird. Walsh needs to rid Indy of both Bird and vogel…

    • A.J. says:

      Wrong. Prior to the Turner trade, they had lost three out of five. They acquired Turner, and then won the next five. Granger got hurt again. This has nothing to do with the Granger trade, who wasn’t coming back next season anyway.

      • A.J. says:

        The trade also saved Bird a lot of future anguish. It gave a sneak peak into Stephenson’s whacked out psyche, and that signing him long-term to a fat contract would be a disaster. He’s trouble waiting to happen.

        Seriously, some of these comments are just moronic. Whatever is happening inside Hibbert’s head right now has absolutely nothing to do with Danny Granger.

        If they win this series, everything will be fine. If they don’t, then they have to solve the Stephenson issue and also decide if they need to get a traditional point guard.