3 realistic goals for Indiana Pacers in 2021 NBA Playoffs

Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers. (Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports)
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers. (Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers will have to battle to make the NBA Playoffs out of the play-in tournament.

After being seen as one of the five best teams in the Eastern Conference a year ago, the Indiana Pacers are one NBA play-in tournament loss away from being eliminated altogether.

The Pacers will host the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game in the Eastern Conference. While the winner of this game will travel to face the loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards, the loser’s season will officially be over. Indiana was only one game better than 10th-place Charlotte this season, so look out here.

If the Pacers do advance to the 2021 NBA Playoffs, here are some realistic goals for Indiana.

3. The Indiana Pacers need to secure an actual playoff spot

As it would be with the Hornets, or the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs out of the Western Conference, getting into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed would be huge for the Pacers. Winning back-to-back, win-or-go-home games is not an easy accomplishment. In a way, it would take all the pressure off the Pacers to go out and play a great series vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.

While a gentleman’s sweep is about all Charlotte could ask for, the Pacers have ample playoff experience under their belt. Facing absolutely no pressure, the Pacers could be a sneaky, dark horse contender to shock Philadelphia in round one. Though the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors are more menacing coming out of the West, the Pacers could play spoiler.