Indiana is 35 games – nearly halfway – into the 2013-14 NBA season.
Majority of those 35 opponents have not been of much competition for the Pacers. That is in large part because of a poor Eastern Conference in which, as of Thursday, January 9, only three teams have winning records. Those three teams are the Pacers, Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Indiana lost to Atlanta on Wednesday night, 87-97.
The Indiana Pacers have beaten up on the Central Division so far. None of the other four teams in the division have a record over .500. Indiana is 6-2 so far against Central Division foes, with losses at Chicago (with Derrick Rose) and at home to Detroit.
Such opponents that have faced the Pacers more than once include Cleveland, Charlotte, Brooklyn, Boston, Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans. Not one of those teams has a winning record. Indiana has also matched up with Toronto on more than one occasion, and they currently stand at 17-17.
That schedule proves very favorable for the Pacers to jump out of the gates at 28-7, tops in the league. Head coach Frank Vogel will take an 80% win percentage anytime.
Upcoming for Indiana is more of the same with weaker competition. They’re entering a four-game home stand beginning Friday night with Washington visiting Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Sacramento, New York and the Los Angeles Clippers round out the visitors.
However, the Pacers then get another shot to prove themselves in the elite category with a Western Conference outing. Starting January 20, Indiana is set to take on Golden State, Phoenix, Sacramento, Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers during a five-game trip. Despite only two of those teams currently sitting above the .500 mark, a trip out west is always difficult.
Golden State is the hottest team in the NBA at the moment and Phoenix is the surprise team in the league at 21-13. There are many games yet to be played, though.
For Indiana Pacers fans, expect the wins to become more difficult in the second half of the season.