As we await the second half of the season to be released, the upcoming Indiana Pacers‘ schedule heading into early March will give a good sense of how the squad stacks up against the elites.
Indiana, after winning back-to-back games on the road, entered Monday night with ten games remaining, six of which will be up against seven of the top-25 scorers, including five in the top ten. This includes the overtime loss Monday night to Chicago and Zach Lavine who is the sixth-leading scorer at 28.2 points per game (ppg).
The upcoming schedule will challenge the Indiana Pacers
The team’s defense was put to the test and struggled Monday night against an elite offensive player and team (Chicago is 7th in scoring) and Indiana’s defense will continue to be tested. The Pacers are around the middle of the pack in certain defensive categories so far, resulting in an inconsistent 14-14 record up to this point that will only get tougher in the coming weeks.
- Feb. 24 vs Golden State (114.5 ppg, T-5th overall), Stephen Curry (29.9 ppg, 2nd overall)
- Feb. 26 at Boston, Jaylen Brown (26.0 ppg, 10th overall), Jayson Tatum (25.4 ppg, 13th overall)
- Mar. 1 at Philadephia (114.5 ppg, T-5th overall), Joel Embiid (29.6 ppg, 3rd overall)
- Mar. 3 at Cleveland, Collin Sexton (22.7 ppg, 23rd overall)
- Mar. 4 vs Denver, Nikola Jokic (27.1 ppg, 8th overall)
Indiana’s defense is 11th in ppg allowed,12th in field goal percentage per game at 46%, and ranks 22nd in three-point percentage per game at 37.9%, rankings that will need to improve in order for Coach Bjorkgren’s team to start playing above .500 basketball.
The Indiana Pacers’ schedule this season has included competitive battles against these teams so far, a two-game split with Boston in December. Against Cleveland, Indiana walked away with a 20-point victory in late December, even with a strong performance out of Sexton, dropping 28 points on an efficient 12 of 19 shooting.
A strong defensive performance at Golden State earned a 104-95 win and a tough loss to Philadephia 119-110 at home. Indiana is 8-9 versus teams that have at least one player in the top 25 in scoring this season and will need to improve that if they want to improve their Eastern Conference standing.