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Pacers Trying to Ignore Favorable Schedule

Pacers Trying to Ignore Favorable Schedule

The Pacers are saying all the right things about the remaining schedule that seems to tilt in their favor, running off all the relevant cliches.

After Sunday’s 94-74 victory over Philadelphia at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, one could hear talk of taking one game at a time, not taking any opponent for granted, and not getting too high over a win or too low over a loss throughout the locker room.

Still, they should be encouraged by their current state of affairs. They finished Sunday holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, just half a game behind Miami in seventh but only percentage points ahead of Brooklyn and Charlotte for eighth. They’ve won eight of their last 10 games, and six of their next seven games are at home.

That all seems like a good thing, but they’re being careful not to celebrate any good fortune. Maybe because they know now quickly good fortune can turn its back on a team.

“We’re expecting these other teams to go on runs,” coach Frank Vogel said, referring to the other five teams who are within easy striking distance of the final two playoff spots. “We’re not expecting anyone else to lose. So we have to take care of business every single night, whether we’re home or on the road.

“But you look at the next game and the next game seems to be at home a lot,” he added, smiling.

Here’s a breakdown at what lies ahead for the teams contending for the final two playoff seeds in the East, heading into Sunday’s games. One could find plenty of reasons for optimism for the Pacers in these numbers, but they’re doing their best to ignore them.

“We can’t think that way,” Luis Scola said. “We did think that way in the past and it didn’t work. We just have to continue thinking about getting a little bit better.”

 

INDIANA

Record: 25-34

Games remaining: 14 home, 10 road

Note: The combined record of their remaining opponents is 604-738. They have just one road game remaining against a Western Conference team, the season finale at Memphis.

 

MIAMI

Record: 25-33

Games remaining: 14 home, 10 road

Note: They play the Pacers at The Fieldhouse on April 5 in the third game of a four-game stretch.

 

BROOKLYN

Record: 24-33

Games remaining: 16 home, nine road

Note: They play the Pacers at The Fieldhouse on March 21 in the back end of a back-to-back for both teams. The Pacers play in Brooklyn on March 31.

 

CHARLOTTE

Record: 24-33

Games remaining: 12 home, 14 road

Note: They still have a five-game road trip that includes four Western Conference games. They have one remaining game against the Pacers, at The Fieldhouse on April 3.

 

BOSTON

Record: 23-34

Games remaining: 12 home, 14 road

Note: They play the Pacers at The Fieldhouse on March 14 in the back end of a back-to-back set. They still have to play at Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The Pacers play in Boston on April 1.

 

DETROIT

Record: 23-36

Games remaining: nine home, 14 road

Note: They have lost three consecutive games, and still have a Western trip that will require four games in five nights. The Pacers play in Detroit on April 10.

 

The more determined optimists might consider Milwaukee within reach as well. The Bucks are sixth in the East with a 32-27 record, seven games ahead of the Pacers, but have lost four of their last five games. They have 13 home games left and just nine on the road, but still have to go on a four-game Western trip. They play at The Fieldhouse on March 12 at the end of a back-to-back, but the Pacers play in Milwaukee on March 26 at the end of a back-to-back.

About The Author

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Mark Montieth has more than 30 years of experience as a reporter, columnist, and feature writer for major media entities, and his work has been featured both in Indiana and across the country. This is his second full season contributing to Pacers.com, though he spent many years as the team's beat writer for the Indianapolis Star. Montieth also hosts a radio show called "One on One" on 1070 the Fan.

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