The Indiana Pacers are two games ahead of the Boston Celtics and look to keep it that way. But should they consider some ‘load management’ before the playoffs?
Thanks to their win over the Denver Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers sit two games ahead of the Boston Celtics here on Monday and more importantly, still in fourth place. A four-game skid by the Celtics isn’t hurting Indiana as they hold on to their position in the standings despite the inevitable feeling that they’ll lose that spot.
While a two-game lead with eight games left is hardly a sure thing, it’s worth asking if the Pacers should consider some ‘load management’ or what normal human beings call ‘rest’.
Indiana is saying no, not yet.
Coach Nate McMillan said he consulted with the team on the subject and they’ve elected to play it out until the playoff seeding is settled.
“We’re still in a race. We haven’t accomplished… what we… we made the playoffs, but we still have an opportunity for home-court advantage,” McMillan said in the post-game presser.
Ultimately, it makes sense. The Celtics will be the favorite in the series regardless of seeding. The schedule difficulty plays a role, but any team that loses its best player is at a disadvantage. The Pacers need any advantage they can get. Grabbing home court advantage against the Celtics won’t convince anyone that Indiana is capable of pulling off the upset, but it can’t hurt the Pacers’ chances.
With two more meetings left between the two, it’s far from settled. Indiana’s schedule the rest of the way is tougher than Boston’s but with the season series currently split, it could still come down to their head-to-head results to decide who gets home-court advantage.
In case you were wondering, the Pacers are now 2.5 games back from the Philadelphia 76ers in third. Don’t get your hopes up because the 76ers have a pretty easy schedule ahead of them. A playoff date with the Celtics is all but inevitable.