Indiana Pacers: Defense to be tested in upcoming three-game stretch

Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers are trending in the right direction. With seven wins in the last eight games, the Pacers have improved their record by emphasizing defense. As the team looks ahead, the Pacers’ defense will be put to the test against some of the NBA’s best offenses.

The Indiana Pacers defense has looked impressive over the past couple of weeks. The Pacers are currently fifth in points allowed per game.

Other than the first half against the Orlando Magic on November 10th and the parade to the free-throw line in Charlotte against the Hornets earlier that week, the Pacers defense has suffocated opponents in November.

However, the next three games will test one of the best defenses in the NBA against three of the league’s most potent offenses.

The first challenge will be Friday night in Houston against the Rockets. James Harden and Russell Westbrook lead a Rockets team that scored 159 points in an early November win over the Washington Wizards.

Harden put up 59 points in that contest. He also leads the league in scoring with 37.3 points per game.

The Pacers haven’t been able to secure a win against the Rockets since Paul George was wearing the blue and gold while defending Harden. This game will have to be won with cohesive defense.

Nobody beats Houston by just trying to outscore them. Will the Pacers be able to slow down Harden enough to pull out a victory?

The next challenge will come Saturday night at home against the Milwaukee Bucks. This game will be the second night of a back-to-back for the Pacers who hope to have Myles Turner, Jeremy Lamb, and Goga Bitadze back for at least one of the weekend’s games.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is an early candidate for MVP. “The Greek Freak” has been playing lights out averaging 29.7 points, 14.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

Last year, Thaddeus Young defended Giannis pretty well, but who will step up to the plate for the Pacers this year? Will it be Domantas Sabonis, JaKarr Sampson, Turner or someone else?

Finally, the three-game test concludes Monday evening in Brooklyn against Kyrie Irving and the Nets.

Last month, Sabonis punished DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen in the paint. The Pacers defense also held the Nets to their fewest point total of the season in a 118-108 victory.

Will the Pacers defense be able to slow down Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie?

Next. Indiana Pacers: Need for consistent wing defender apparent. dark

Prediction: Pacers go 2-1 with wins over Milwaukee and Brooklyn and a loss in Houston.