Pacers' upcoming road trip could mean playoffs or play-in

The upcoming road trip is going to be critical in determining whether the Pacers make the playoffs or have to deal with the play-in.

Indiana Pacers v Orlando Magic
Indiana Pacers v Orlando Magic / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

Indiana is 21-15 at home but only 17-16 on the road. If the Pacers want to capture a top-six finish in the East and avoid the play-in round, they need to accumulate these wins away from Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Pacers will be the guest during their next five games. The first of which is at Detroit as they have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

After dropping their last contest at home against Cleveland, the Pacers are 38-31 and currently sit in seventh place. That loss marks their tenth loss on the season by five points or less and held the Pacers from moving into the top six.

Tyrese Haliburton and company still are the highest-scoring offense in the league with 122.8 points per game. Indiana also is the only team shooting more than 50% from the floor and averaging more than 30 assists a game.

The Pacers will look to continue those marks when they face the Pistons. A first win on this road trip can set the tone for the remaining games as the final three will be played in the state of California.

Detroit poses little to no threat to the Pacers as long as they come prepared, but DeMar DeRozan's Bulls have proven capable of winning head-to-head. All three Western Conference teams on the road trip also boast tandems of offensive firepower.

Golden State has Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins who can score at will. The Lakers boast LeBron James and Anthony Davis while the Clippers can have Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard in their lineup at the same time.

Fortunately for Head Coach Rick Carlisle's squad, each of these away games comes with a day of rest with the exception of the two against Los Angeles opponents. This could allow the Pacers to stay fresh and not over-exert themself.

A strong showing in these five road games could move the Pacers out of the seventh (or eighth) spot and into the top six, avoiding the play-in. Following the game against Detroit, the other opponents are all in playoff contention (Warriors, Lakers, Clippers, and Bulls).

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The Pacers would love to return home next Friday (against the Lakers) and only have five or fewer teams above them in the Eastern Conference Standings. That positioning will greatly affect the longevity and outlook of Indiana's postseason aspirations.