It’s a new week for the Indiana Pacers, and they couldn’t be more happy about that. After going 1-3 last week, and just looking out of sync, this week provides four opportunities to turn that around. It starts tonight in Cleveland against a Cavs team playing without Kyrie Irving. That means the Pacers should win this game, and even with him in the Cavs’ line up, they should win. But then again, they should have won against the Sixers, and that didn’t happen, so tonight’s game against the Cavs has me leery. Especially when this Cavs team was able to build a lead in one of the games, where the Pacers had to really turn it on to come back around. Paul George would be served well to find his shooting touch tonight as that’s been lost. David West hasn’t been on as usual, which means the Pacers haven’t been on. If those two guys can produce, I expect a good win out of the Blue and Gold.
Then the Pacers will travel back to Indy for a game tomorrow night against the Orlando Magic. Already coming off a back to back, there’s not a lot of down time for the Pacers now. It’s time to really step back into that stout defense that’s been missing the past couple of games. Yet another SHOULD WIN game for the Pacers as they want to prove that they’re ready to go for the playoffs. This time of year the Pacers should be fine tuning things, not going back to the drawing board to figure out what’s wrong. These are two games that the Pacers have to find those answers, and really come back around to where they have been going. If they don’t win both these games, that’s going to be an ugly slide for the team, and the chances of closing out the division could take a huge hit.
It will not help that the Pacers will face a couple of divisional teams come Friday and Saturday. Yet another back to back effort. You would think the Pacers can handle that though after the three games in a row and even another game that Friday, which meant four games in five nights. This is about the same time frame, except Wednesday will be an off day. Who knows what kind of practice Coach Vogel will put together, I’m guessing it depends on the efforts of tonight’s game and tomorrow night’s game.
Come Friday and Saturday, the Pacers face the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls. They’ve had some problems with that Bucks team, who could be a first round match up for them. It’s important to come out firing for that game, and show that they’re ready for the Bucks come playoff time. Then the Bulls get another shot to take out the Pacers. The Pacers have taken care of business against that Bulls team as they’ve won three games. But I would want them to win that fourth game for the sweep, and the cherry on top is taking the divisional crown. Like they say, you gotta beat the best to be the best. The Pacers can prove they’re at least better than the Bulls come Saturday night when those teams tangle up again.
It’s going to be an important week for the Pacers as they’ve really struggled this month for a 4-4 record. Not exactly showing that they’re ready for the playoffs. But I think getting a 3-1 record this week could do wonders for the confidence. Ideally, you want them to go 4-0, but with the back to back and already playing quite a bit just over the past couple of weeks, that might be hard to come by. Picking up those wins come Friday and Saturday would really be key for locking down the division, and making sure they’re right there at the top.