The Pacers play some big-time games this week as we continue to propel towards the end of the season. Let’s have a chat about which are important.
The Pacers find themselves currently at the 7th spot in the lottery with a chance to get to the 5th spot if they can drop more games than Orlando and Portland in the final weeks. We’ve already talked about how the Pacers may be making a massive mistake by playing their recovering-from-injury players at the moment.
So which games are important this week?
The Least Important:
Bucks at Pacers Wednesday @ 7 PM
This is the least important because, well, we know the most likely outcome. Although the Pacers won this matchup the last time they met, the Bucks are one of the best teams in the NBA. So in all likelihood the Pacers will lose this game (although that’s why we play the games!). So we can likely plan on the Pacers dropping this one.
The Moderately Important:
Mavericks at Pacers Monday @ 7 PM
On paper, the Mavericks are a better team than the Pacers. However, they have a tendency to lose games they should win (surprise with the addition of Kyrie Irving that they would be worse, right?). Luka will likely not be playing due to a technical foul he got over the weekend, so the Pacers have a higher chance of winning this game than they might otherwise.
Thunder at Pacers Friday @ 7 PM
Another moderately important game of the week is probably the Thunder game, who are currently about as skilled as the Pacers in terms of on-court talent. It is likely that, for the first time in years, the Thunder will be attempting to win games this time of year, so it may not end up being that big of deal. The Thunder will more than likely NEED to win this game and will probably be very motivated to get business done on the court.
The Most Important:
Pacers at Cavaliers Sunday @ 8 PM
The most important game is the one with the most draft implications. The Cavaliers, again, have more talent on paper than the Pacers and should win this game. However, it is closer than you might think. And this game has competing interests in terms of the draft for the Pacers. The Pacers draft odds for their own pick improve if they lose, but the draft odds for the Cavs pick (which the Pacers own) improve if the Pacers win. So this could be a win-win for the Pacers regardless of outcome.