Indiana Pacers: The Five Biggest Games Left this Season

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers hold the East’s six seed exiting the All-Star break. With multiple teams needing to be jumped, these are the most important games left on the schedule.

The gaps among playoff teams in the Eastern Conference have begun to open up. Just a month ago, only three games separated the two through six seeds, but now it has been extended to eight games. The team sitting in that final spot in the East’s top tier? The Indiana Pacers.

Indiana has some ground to make up over the final 27 games of the season. Luckily, they are right in the middle with the 16th strongest remaining schedule. The biggest problem? The two teams directly above them in the standings (Miami and Philadelphia) are 26th and 29th in strength of schedule respectively. The Pacers need to make up 3.5 games against a stronger schedule to regain homecourt in the first round of the playoffs.

This final run is teeming with story lines and head-to-head matchups with other Eastern Conference playoff teams. Here’s a look at the five most important games before the postseason:

February 23 @ Toronto Raptors

This game will give the Pacers the chance to end the season series at an even 2-2. The Raptors beat Indiana in back-to-back games just before the All-Star break and currently sit in the East’s two seed. If Boston slips past them in the standings, this could the Blue and Gold’s first round matchup in the playoffs. Knowing they are able to win on the defending champ’s home floor could give Indiana some added confidence.

March 14 @ Philadelphia 76ers

Winning this season series could also become vital in the final playoff seedings. Indiana has won two of the three games so far this season against Philly including a 115-97 thumping in December. The 76ers have been one of the biggest disappointments thus far, but have the talent to turn things around in a hurry. Indiana can’t play around in this game if they want to handle all of Philadelphia’s size.

March 20 vs. Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler: the new sworn enemy of the Indiana Pacers. Since the dust-up, T.J. Warren is averaging over 20 points per game and scored 12 or more in 12 of the 14 games including two 30-point outings. Both players have the date circled on their calendars and the current playoff seeding will make the game even more interesting. Miami feels like the most realistic team the Pacers could catch and showing Butler what this team is made of would be a nice feeling.

March 21 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

LOL, just kidding. Nobody circles the Cavs on their calendars.

April 7 @ Miami Heat

Much like the March 20 game, the final matchup with the Heat could be a prove-it game. It will be the season’s 78th contest, and if the home game against Miami goes well, a chance to tie the season series. By this point, the Pacers’ chemistry should be at its best. Two full months of everyone playing together should lift everyone to new heights. This game could ultimately decide who would enjoy a game seven at home in a four-five playoff series.

April 8 @ Boston Celtics

Next. The All-Star Break came at the Perfect Time. dark

Boston looks to be the last team with a winning record the Pacers will play this season (unless the San Antonio Spurs or Orlando Magic go on miraculous runs). Boston currently sits 6.5 games ahead of Indiana in the standings so catching them would be extremely tough. Winning this outing, then the subsequent three games against non-contenders, would give the Pacers good momentum heading into the playoffs.