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Pacers Ready To Run The Gauntlet On The Road

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At least I hope they're ready.

Mike Wells takes a look at the challenging schedule facing the Pacers over the next 13 games.

The Pacers, now 5-7, have dropped four of their past five games and are in the midst of a stretch where they play 10 of 13 games on the road. Their road schedule includes games at Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Boston, Cleveland, Toronto and Detroit, all teams expected to be in the playoffs. To make matters worse, the Pacers are just 1-4 away from Conseco Fieldhouse and have problems holding onto leads.

What goes unmentioned are the three home games, two of which are against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Yep, this is the killer early schedule I worried about in August, hoping for an 8-12 record after the first 20. After a few games, it appeared like 10-10 would be reasonable and let's face it, within the last week alone, an extra 3 Ws were there for the taking.

Once again, 8-12 sounds like a great goal, but more important than the wins and losses is how the Pacers react. They're officially in the midst of some adversity as they struggle to find a winning formula. We know if they move the ball, stick with the offensive motion and limit turnovers they can play with anyone. But who's going to step up and make it a habit. The inconsistent effort in these areas has bitten the blue and gold in losses.

The excuses are lined up: new players, couple key injuries, rookies in the mix, etc. Unfortunately the box score and more importantly the standings don't track such factors. So you gotta go with what you have and the Pacers have enough to gut out wins, whether at home or on the road.