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Indiana Pacers reach halfway point of season well above expectations

The Pacers are 23-18 halfway through their season

Most Sportsbooks predicted that the Indiana Pacers would only win somewhere between 20 and 25 games in 2022-23. The franchise started a rebuild last February and expected some growing pains this season.

The Pacers have smashed those low expectations. Through 41 games, the exact halfway point of their season, Indiana already has 23 wins. They have already exceeded their pre-season win projection set by many, and they need just three wins in the second half of the campaign to improve on their record from 2021-22. The Pacers have been excellent to start this campaign, and they are blowing away expectations.

"It's gone by pretty fast. But the NBA season always seems to go by pretty fast to me. There's a long way to go," head coach Rick Carlisle said of the Pacers first half of the season. "We've got a fun group to work with, and that's probably made the time go by a little quicker."

Everything has turned around for the Pacers. Their spirit, a word Carlisle loves, is better. On offense, they play at a speed that is tough to contain, and the blue and gold rank 13th in the league in offensive rating. Defensively, they have grown all season. The less glamorous end of the floor is still a weakness for the Pacers at times, but they have climbed to 18th in defensive rating. Indiana has turned their fortunes around quickly.

The players, and much of the staff, are loving it. Many players have talked about how close this group is, and they have a good blend of personalities to make a younger group mesh. "I really think that we respect each other's work ethic," Pacers veteran forward James Johnson said of the team earlier this season.

The stellar chemistry combined with improved play from several players has the Pacers humming. "Some good things have happened. But we've got to keep our eye on the ball. We've got to realize what has brought us some success, and the big thing is depth, attention to detail to the little things that help teams win difficult games," Carlisle said of the Pacers this season.

"We've had role players step up and have higher impact than expected in some cases. But now the challenge is to sustain," he added.

Point guard Tyrese Haliburton is on an All-Star path and is averaging a double-double. Center Myles Turner is averaging a career high in points and rebounds per game. Wing/guards Aaron Nesmith and Andrew Nembhard are defending incredibly well while guard Buddy Hield leads the league in made three-point shots. Indiana's starting five has all played well this season.

Off the bench, guard Bennedict Mathurin has been one of the best rookies in the league this year while T.J. McConnell, Oshae Brissett, and Jalen Smith have settled into the second unit nicely. Essentially every Pacers player has played their role well so far this season, and it has the team humming.

They'll need to keep it up if they want to have a solid second half of the season. A young team can be inconsistent. "The biggest thing for us to do is just bear down on the road. I think a lot of these rookies... haven't really experienced that rookie wall yet," Turner said of what the Pacers need to focus on in the second half of the season.

Indiana is 23-18 so far and is certain to exceed their preseason win projections. While rookie walls and youth inconsistency could halt their impressive play at some point, they have laid the groundwork for long-term success with a great first half of the 2022-23 campaign.

  • Report: Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers open up contract extension talks. CLICK HERE.
  • Oshae Brissett has contract become fully guaranteed, not waived by the Indiana Pacers before the guarantee deadline. CLICK HERE.
  • Pacers guard Trevelin Queen on Tyrese Haliburton: 'He's just a great leader.' CLICK HERE.
  • The Indiana Pacers have become one of the best clutch teams in the NBA. CLICK HERE.
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