Ranking the Pacers possible playoff opponents from most to least intimidating

With the Pacers set to participate in at least the Play-In tournament soon, let's take a look at who they may face in the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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4. Cleveland Cavaliers

This is where the list shifts from "Teams Indiana can put up a good fight against and maybe beat" to "Teams Indiana has a good chance at beating," and first to the table are the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The regular season series between Indiana and Cleveland reads like a more positive version of the series between Indiana and New York. Indiana and Cleveland's first matchup was only Indiana's second game of the season, where they beat an injured Cavaliers team by 12 points after a late-game three-point barrage from Tyrese Haliburton.

Of course, a full opinion on these teams cannot be formed off this game alone as Cleveland was missing Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen. The two teams faced off once again six days later in the first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament game, and this time, Indiana beat a healthy Cleveland squad 121-116 after a thunderous Myles Turner rejection at the end of the game. With this win, Indiana secured at least a tie over Cleveland in the season series with two games remaining near the end of the season.

The Pacers had a chance to turn that tie into a series win on March 18, when they faced a Cavaliers team without Mobley or Mitchell, but they failed. In a repeat of plenty of games this season against worst teams, Indiana blew an early double-digit lead and allowed 23 points each from Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen as well as 14 points from Marcus Morris to lose 103-108.

Currently, Indiana has one last chance to take the season series advantage over Cleveland in the penultimate game of the season. On April 12, Indiana faces off against Cleveland in their 81st game of the season in a game that may have even bigger playoff stakes depending on what happens between now and then. Furthermore, this may be the first time a fully healthy Cavaliers team faces off against a mostly healthy Pacers team since the second game of the season, so this game could very well set the tone for a potential playoff series.

As of right now, the Pacers would face the Cavaliers in the first round if the playoffs started today, and it is not far-fetched at all to say Indiana may have an advantage going into the playoffs. However, Cleveland still employs Donovan Mitchell, who is a noted playoff riser and has plenty of more talented pieces who could work great in the playoffs. For a team like Indiana, who is relatively inexperienced, it will most likely not be an easy series. However, a playoff series between Tyrese Haliburton and Darius Garland sounds incredibly fun.