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Pacers' Schedule About To Toughen Up

The schedule is about to get real interesting for the Indiana Pacers.

Working on yet another off-day today while prepping for the Atlanta Hawks to come to Indy tomorrow night, the Pacers are 4-4 which puts them in pretty good shape in the Eastern Conference. Considering the teams in the soft middle of the conference like New York (losers last night to Houston), Washington (not ready for prime time, yet), Charlotte and Philadelphia are all off to tough starts, things are looking pretty good for the Pacers so far.

But how good?

Before the season tipped, I mentioned the need for the Pacers to take advantage of their first ten games regardless of the new faces in new roles to start the season. Well, 6-4 as I hoped may be a tall order but at least the next two games against the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers are at home.

Then the season kicks into a higher gear. After easing into the season thus far, with several off-days between home games (at one point the Pacers were home for nine straight days with only three game in that time), the off-days thin out and the opponents toughen up.

Staring Saturday, the schedule for the following two weeks includes Orlando, @Miami, Cleveland and Oklahoma City before hitting the road for four games out west that includes the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz. This kick-starts a busy December schedule that would make a .500 record at Christmans look spectacular.

But right now, it's simply a decent start that will leave us lamenting those 50/50 losses at home. At least the Pacers have been able to work through some early season issues without getting buried by an awful start, which should certainly help during the upcoming stretch of the schedule.

Speaking of the 50/50 games, my thanks to Jared Wade at 8.9 for expounding on my thoughts on the topic as if he were inside my brain.

Also, I love that picture of Jim O'Brien and Joey Crawford so please throw your caption in the comments.