4 Major reasons the Indiana Pacers have emerged as a dangerous East dark horse

The Indiana Pacers have emerged as one of the most dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers: Quarterfinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers: Quarterfinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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The Indiana Pacers have the potential to improve defensively

Any logical fan of basketball would have to believe that as good as the Pacers are on offense, they would be at least half-decent on the defensive end. Logic says that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", and the strategy head coach Rick Carlisle has implemented has worked thus far but there are concerns when playing this risky style of basketball.

How will Carlisle adjust if teams begin to limit the Pacers' possessions? What happens if they play a team that excels in transition defense? How would they adjust if an opponent incorporates a full or halfcourt press? These will be questions that Carlisle and company will have to figure out as the season progresses and teams begin to adjust to the Pacers style of play.

If the Pacers could improve on the defensive end just a little, they have the potential to be a top 5 team in the NBA. The Pacers are 3rd in the league in blocked shots per game at 6.4 per game but that's about the only positive. They own the 3rd worst defensive rating, are the 3rd worst defensive rebounding team, 3rd worst in opponents' second chance points, 4th worst in opponents' fast break points, and dead last in points allowed in the paint.

While they may get torched by opposing offenses through the first 3 quarters of a game, the Pacers should shift their focus to keeping the game close to stay within arms reach and get the key stops they need in the 4th quarter in crunch time. As long as they can come up with those stops late in games, the Pacers should continue their winning ways.