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Before the season began, the Pacers looked to be about a .500 team. With three weeks to go in the season, they’re a game above .500. This is just what they are, and perhaps will remain for the foreseeable future.
They followed a seven-game winning streak in late January and early February with a six-game losing streak, and in their 14 games since the All-Star break, they’re a flat 7-7. They can score enough, especially at home where they are 25-10, to beat bad-to-mediocre teams, but they don’t defend enough to win tough games. They’re 2-9 against the East’s Top 4, their potential first-round playoff foes. Their last such win came on December 19.
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The one question about Williams’ fit in Houston revolves around his defense. Williams has never been known as a good defender, and the Rockets are in the middle of the pack this season in defensive efficiency. They’d benefit from having another wing defender going into the playoffs, but it’s just as important they acquired someone who can take some of the load off Harden’s shoulders. It’s not like the Rockets were relying as much on Brewer’s defense at this stage of his career, either.
If they were, Williams’ shortcomings would be a far bigger deal.
Hassan Whiteside had a monster game while helping the Heat to a 113-95 home win over the Pacers. Whiteside scored 22 points with 17 rebounds. Dion Waiters added 22 points and Goran Dragic had 21 points and four assists.
Bulls guard Dwyane Wade flirted with a triple-double by scoring 20 points with 10 assists and nine rebounds in a 117-99 win over the Cavaliers with LeBron James (illness) and Kevin Love (knee) out of the game. Chicago’s Jimmy Butler did complete a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.