I couldn’t think of any song lyrics to fit what the Pacers are doing this week as they head out west for some dates with possible playoff teams. They got off to a good start getting the win in Memphis, while not a “west” city, it’s still in the “western” conference, and it was on the road. The road is where this Pacers team needs to put together some wins. What better way to do that than this week when they face the Portland Trailblazers, Utah Jazz, and Denver Nuggets. An easy prediction to make is that the Pacers should go 3-1 on this road trip. I see wins against the Trailblazers and Jazz to go along with the Grizzlies win. But that Nuggets game is one that could be tough for the Pacers as the Nuggets have already beat the Pacers once in Indiana. Only one of the three losses home at for the Pacers, but a loss none the less. Still that’s a respectable record to get to, and the fact that the Pacers have already beat the Blazers and Jazz gives me good indication they can do it again.
Indiana Pacers at Portland Trailblazers
Previous Meeting: Pacers won 99-92
This could be an interesting game for the Pacers as they’ll have to put the clamps on a couple of guys. This is the last game before the All Star reserves are announced, so it’s important to keep any eye on LaMarcus Aldridge. His name has been mentioned as a possible reserve, and this would be his opportunity to show that he deserves that. But then again, the Pacers have Paul George and David West vying for an All Star bid, so they could be huge as well. The other guy on the Blazers’ roster that could have a great game is Damian Lillard, who put up 23 points on the Pacers with ease last time out. He’ll have to be slowed down for the Pacers to really put on the defensive clamps that we’ve seen this season.
Indiana Pacers at Utah Jazz
Previous Meeting: Pacers won 104-84
Last game out against the Jazz, the Pacers put up one of their higher point totals with 104. Paul George had 20 points, George Hill had 20 points, and Gerald Green had the team high with 21 points. Green unfortunately hasn’t been as good since then, so maybe going up against the Jazz will wake him up. He’s a guy that you know is athletic, but doesn’t have that basketball IQ that you would like. George has been an absolute beast at times, and I think this is a game he could really put on a clinic with as well as he’s been playing. If the Pacers slip up in Portland, I would look for them to take care of business in Utah. They have yet to lose two games in a row since December 9th. So the ability to bounce back is key. That Portland game does worry me, but this Utah one should be a win.
Indiana Pacers at Denver Nuggets
Previous Meeting: Pacers lost 92-89
Here’s the game where I think the Pacers have to come together defensively. Denver is averaging 103 points per game. They just put up 121 with an overtime session against the Thunder and they have some what should be wins coming up. Games against the Rockets and Kings could mean the Nuggets are rolling along, and the Pacers will have to be on their A game defensively to beat this Nuggets team. Last time out, even holding the Nuggets to 92 points didn’t get the win for the Pacers. Denver has so many players that can score, so the Pacers will have to look at keeping this one under 90 to have that shot to win.