The Indiana Pacers will lose their last big battle

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Not too long ago, the Indiana Pacers were sitting pretty atop of the Eastern conference with their spot at the top not even looking remotely threatened.

On Wednesday they played the team who have been second just behind them all season in the East, the Miami Heat as the Pacers ran out narrow 83-84 winners.

Since then however they have gone on a three-game losing streak crashing to the Washington Wizards, a shock result to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Monday's demolition at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.

Not a great showing from the Pacers as of late and it certainly doesn't say much for the Eastern conference as whole either.

I wrote a piece on the difference between the Eastern and Western conferences of the NBA two weeks ago and surmised that the gap was gargantuan and heavily favoured the West.

I did however go on to point out that the East has two pearls of hope in the battle in the Pacers and the Heat - who are just now getting back to their old selves with a three game winning streak.

So with the Pacers looking shaky and the Heat beginning to look formidable once again the question remains, can the Pacers reclaim top spot in the East?

Well lets begin by looking at the current standings shall we?

Miami are currently top of the Eastern conference with a 51-22 record and as things are going at the minute, its hard to see that changing.

Indiana can boast a 51-22 record and realistically, its hard to see them falling outside of the top two in the conference with the third placed Toronto Raptors who - despite looking very good right now, are a fair way behind.

So one bonus for the Pacers is that the race for top spot is still very close, Miami are literally ahead by a whisker and if Indiana can pick their game up, they can overturn it.

Now onto the Pacers games remaining this season......

They have seven more regular season games in which to change their fortunes and two in particular will require a drastic change from Indiana.

With a trip to Miami and a big game against the second placed team in the Eastern conference the Oklahoma City thunder still to come, Pacers fans do have reasons to be worried.

On the plus side, they have four games before they play Miami and in that time will get the chance to play some of the NBA's 'lesser' teams shall we say in the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons.

A game against the Raptors is the other missing game on that streak that could be problematic for Indiana and they then finish the regular season with a trip to Orlando to play the struggling Magic.

So can they top the Heat?

In my opinion no, Miami have pretty much just the game with the Pacers - which by the way, is in Miami as their one big game left in the regular season.

Clashes with Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks plus a game with the Brooklyn Nets are the only other potentially obvious slip ups.

Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards finish off their season and its tough to see and major shocks occurring on paper.

But sport is never played on paper and anything can happen especially in the NBA so who knows? One thing is for sure and it will be an eventful end to the season.

Miami Heat
Detroit Pistons
Toronto Raptors
Washington Wizards
New York Knicks
New Jersey Nets
Orlando Magic
Atlanta Hawks
San Antonio Spurs
Memphis Grizzlies
Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks
Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia Sixers

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