Pacers road trip provides perfect test of challenges and resilience

On their four-game road trip, the Indiana Pacers will take on two challenges: Two top teams and two bottom-dwellers.

Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves
Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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Following their loss in the inaugural In-Season Tournament, the Indiana Pacers have a four-game road trip slated this week. Last night's contest for the Pacers in Detroit set the tone for the week.

Indiana should look at more than just splitting the four games. Two of their opponents are near first place in their respective conferences: Milwaukee and Minnesota. The other two are against a pair of Eastern Conference cellar dwellers in Detroit and Washington.

This is where the Pacers should look to build momentum and add to their postseason aspirations. Head Coach Rick Carlisle is hoping to get his team to move up in the standings and perhaps even host a first (or second) round playoff series come April.

Last night, Indiana lit up the scoreboard once again with a 131-123 win over the Pistons. Bennedict Mathurin was the leading scorer (off the bench) with 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He went 3-of-5 from behind the arc and only missed one of his eight free throw attempts.

Tyrese Haliburton contributed 14 points and 16 assists and Myles Turner produced 23 points, eight rebounds and trio of blocks. Seven Pacers players scored in double figures.

Next up, the Pacers travel to Milwaukee on Wednesday. They will face a team with playoff and championship experience. The two teams have a similar positive point differential.

Both teams are in the top three in terms of total points per game in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers must look to slow down the tandem of Giannis and Lillard, as they already give up an abundance of points to opposing offenses.

Indiana will then have a night off before back-to-back games in Washington and Minnesota. Washington is one of the worst teams in the league, while Minnesota currently sits atop the Western Conference.

Outside of the Pacers, the Wizards are the only other team that allows more points in a game this season. Indiana scores about twelve more points than Washington does.

Before having off on Sunday, the Pacers will close out their travels on the week in Minnesota. Despite being in the bottom half statistically regarding their points per game, the Timberwolves have the lowest average for points per game allowed.

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This should prove to be a mighty test for the Pacers, who have the best offense in the league. Haliburton and Turner will have their work cut out for them in facing off against Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, and company.