The months of January and February are the dog day months in my mind for the NBA. These are the months, where you pay attention, but don’t pay as much attention. The Pacers could be out to a great start in November and December, which could make these two months go a bit easier.
Looking over the schedule for these months, the schedule isn’t too daunting. There are a couple of games with the Miami Heat, which will be a great test to see where the Pacers are. There’s also a game with the Boston Celtics, who could be contending for one of those top spots in the Eastern Conference.
There’s the West Coast road trip that includes Memphis and Denver, two possible playoff teams. There’s also games against Detroit and Charlotte, two teams which the Pacers should have no problems with. So let’s take a look at the key games for the months of January and February.
January and February Notable Games
The Pacers will make a trip to Boston in what I think could be like a playoff atmosphere. Both of these teams feel like they’ll be under the radar, and want to show the NBA they’re ready to fight in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics made some good moves, despite losing Ray Allen to the Heat. These teams should be about as even as it could be. It should be a great defensive battle, and I am very interested to see how they stack up against each other.
January 8th and February 1st
vs Miami Heat
The World Champions, Miami Heat, will make two trips to Indianapolis for the rematch of last season’s second round playoff match up. If that’s any indication to what these games could be like, fans of basketball will be in for a treat. I would look for the Pacers to come out with a fire and intensity that we haven’t seen in a while. They want to put that knockout punch to the Heat as everyone is already penciling in the Heat in the NBA Finals.
But the Pacers could stand as a challenge to that road to the Finals. These two games are important as the Pacers could be in contention for a top spot in the Eastern Conference if they can control the Central Division. A couple of games in January and February could have that playoff atmosphere to them.
The Pacers will travel to their first game in the Barclay center against an over hyped team in my opinion. Many are calling for the Nets to be one of the top Eastern Conference teams, so this could be great for the Pacers to put them above that Nets team. I don’t see the hype in the Nets, and think the Pacers are the better team. This is their chance to show that.
One of the rare times you can catch the Pacers play in the afternoon as this game tips off at 1:00 on Martin Luther King Day. A pair of teams that want to be in contention and on the lips of NBA fans. Two teams that go under the radar and don’t get the national attention. But they will get that opportunity as ESPN will air this game. It’s a great chance for the Pacers to show what their team effort is. Hopefully, Roy Hibbert will have a breakout game, and up his resume in preparation for the All-Star Game.
I would liken this game to the Memphis game as it’s two teams that not a lot of people pay attention to. I would have a hard time telling who was on the Nuggets roster last season, but they put together a good one and ended up in the playoffs. The last of the four game road trip for the Pacers, so that should be a test in itself.
vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will travel to Indy, where the Pacers handled them last season. This Clippers team should be about as good as they were last year, so hopefully the Pacers can put them away this year. It should be fun to watch the big men of the Pacers make Blake Griffin work for everything in the post. Who can stop Chris Paul will be the bigger question?