On the season thus far, the Indiana Pacers are 9-7 on the road and 3-4 overall vs the Western Conference (not counting their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Inaugural In-Season Tourney). Following their Wednesday night home game against the Washington Wizards, the Pacers will embark on a six-game road trip.
Friday night, the Pacers will travel to Atlanta to play the Hawks, who are below .500 this year. It could serve as the perfect catalyst for Indiana to gain momentum, as the next five games are all out West.
The Pacers will play the defending champs, the Denver Nuggets, on Sunday night. Bruce Brown returns to his last-year home to receive his ring, as well.
The next night, Indiana will play visitor to Utah ahead of having three nights off before three games in four days. Indiana's road trip will conclude in Portland (January 19) and Phoenix (January 21).
The Pacers have typically been stymied on offense against their Western Conference opponents. They average only 122.6 points per game in said contests, which is four points less than their season average. And while the In-Season Tournament finals loss doesn't count toward their regular-season record, it was another example of their struggles scoring against the West.
While they rebound slightly better against the West, they only tally one assist less compared to games against the East. Both their field goal and three-point percentages see a slight dip against the West, too.
In their three wins vs the West, the Pacers have averaged 136.3 points but only 112.3 points in their four losses. Last year, the Pacers went 11-19 against the Western Conference.
Indiana hopes to accumulate another series of wins in a row, like their recent six-game streak that ended this week. Though a tall order, winning six straight away from home would be another profound accomplishment for the league's number one offense.
At the same time, with Tyrese Haliburton sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Pacers could be in danger of struggling on their upcoming road trip. It will be a huge test and could end up impacting their standing in the Eastern Conference playoff race.