The Indiana Pacers look to go perfect on this Western road trip. Three wins in what I predicted would only be two wins, so good job Pacers for proving me wrong. The three wins are part of the four game winning streak that’s on the line for the Pacers as they head into Los Angeles. This should be quite the tough match up for the team, but I think they’re motivated to go out and do what’s needed to win. That’s been the story of this Pacers team throughout the season, finding those ways to win. Tonight would be a great road win for the team as they’ve not been able to get many of those.
They also can’t seem to get a leg up in the Eastern Conference on that 2 spot for the playoffs. Just percentage points behind the New York Knicks as both teams win at the same time, and neither team can separate. That might come down to the last game of the season at this rate. But the Pacers can at least do what they can tonight. In a late game for the local folks here in Indiana as it’s a 10:30 PM tip off. But with the way last game went, this should be a fun one to watch.
For me, the key player to watch is Roy Hibbert. He’s been on a quite the roll lately, getting 20 or more points in 2 of the past 3 games. He even led the team with 28 points in Houston. If he can clog up the middle, and make life difficult for Chris Paul coming down the lane, the Pacers could be in good shape. From the defensive perspective, the Pacers need to slow down Paul. I don’t know if they’ll end up putting Paul George on him as usually that’s George’s task stopping the best player. But whatever the Pacers do, they need to slow him down. I don’t think they can stop Paul completely as he’s just a great point guard that will find all those different ways to beat a team.
It’s important to stop the other guys around him. Stop Blake Griffin from getting to the rim. Don’t let Jamal Crawford start scoring. He’s a guy that when he gets hot, it’s scary how many points he can string together. Tonight would be the ideal night for the defense to showcase themselves as the Pacers have taken so much pride in that defense. They’ve been able to slow down teams enough for them to hit season lows in scoring. Ask the Knicks about that. Ask the Miami Heat about that. If the Pacers can keep this under 90, which is always the goal, then the Pacers should win.
It will take the whole team coming together to get that four win on the road. To get that fifth straight win. To possibly bump up into second place for the Conference. But when this team is motivated like that, you see great things out of them. What better way to finish your Monday night than to see a great Pacers win?