Which teams will round out Eastern Conference Playoffs picture?

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Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Jan 6, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Indiana defeated Orlando 95-86. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers

Offensive Rating: No. 16 (101.6)
Defensive Rating: No. 3 (98.2)

The Indiana Pacers in some senses seem a notch ahead of the rest of the teams competing for those final Playoff spots. The Pacers have a premier talent in Paul George and a stringent defense that ranks No. 3 in the NBA.

Indiana embraced the idea of transitioning to “small ball,” as general manager Larry Bird held the belief that moving Paul George to the 4-spot could be most optimal. It then cushioned the blow of David West.

And beyond that: George has developed into a premiere forward in his own right, even if he is not spending all of his time at power forward.

A long 6-foot-9, George has grabbed 7.6 rebounds per game while coming up with 2.00 steals/blocks per game in helping anchor the baseline of a tough Pacers’ half court defense.

Indiana prefers to slow it down to maximize possessions and punish teams with the three ball. George is hitting 3.0 threes per game while knocking them down at a 39.5 percent clip, and he is having his best career year in averaging 24.3 points per game.

The Pacers rank No. 9 in threes made and also rank No. 14 in free throws made. The Pacers are a strong passing team and work the ball well around to get the best shot.

Indiana has some playoff tested veterans, and it would be very difficult to imagine this team just losing its wheels and somehow not making the Playoffs at this point.

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