So I'm out in Seattle and last night caught the fourth quarter of the Portland Trail Blazers win over the Washington Wizards. I found myself rooting like crazy for the Wiz for no other reason than the ridiculous upside down standing which are really starting to drive me nuts.
The Wiz only have 21 wins and are finishing up the dreaded West Coast swing the Pacers finished win-less a couple of weeks ago. This was painful, since the Wiz seemed to have the upset W in hand before suddenly being Brandon Roy-ed at the end. Maybe the first time in my life I didn't cheer a Roy game-winner.
With the Pacers' win last night, they find themselves tied with Detroit and Sacramento for fifith with 23 wins. The lottery is all about luck, so hovering in this position is tolerable. But a couple of extra wins could easily drop the Pacers to ninth in the draft which, come June, will make wins last night not so enjoyable.
There are 13 games remaining on the schedule. I'm not asking the players not to play hard, try to win or expand their games. I just don't see why Earl Watson needs to play 40 minutes to A.J. Price's 11. But I won't go down that rabbit hole, now.
Instead I want to take a quick look at the remaining games. I've been expecting 26-27 wins which should keep the Pacers in the lower half of the lottery. Should I be worried? What is the worth of any win that doesn't utilize all of the young players on the roster?
So here's a quick look at the remaining games with a projects won, loss or tossup.
|Oklahoma City||L - Kevin Durant and Co. are playing well and getting primed for their first playoff appearnce.|
|@Detroit||T - Here we go again. Detroit back at full strength at home, should have advantage.|
|Washington||W - One of two remaining with the Wiz. Expecting a split at worst (best?).|
|Utah||L - Utah needs all the wins they can get to maintain their playoff position.|
|@Atlanta||L - Hawks tough at the Highlight Factory, plus ramping up for home-court in playoffs.|
|Sacramento||W - Huge game, young Sacto playing well of late, could take this game if they show up.|
|Miami||L - Dwyane Wade sniffing playoff mode.|
|Houston||T - Rockets are hovering out of playoff mode, they show up, the T goes to an L.|
|New York||W - Knicks have no need to lose, but these are always a toss up, so home court wins.|
|@Cleveland||L - LeBron James|
|New Jersey||W - At home against the Nets.|
|Orlando||L - Dwight Howard assuming Magic don't go into "Colts Week 16 mode" and sit the big guy.|
|@Washington||T - Geniuses at ESPN new which national game to give these two teams, could be epic.|
So my quick projects leave the Pacers with 27 wins with 3 tossups. This assumes the Pacers continue their all out effort to scrap for W's despite how little good or late in the season they've shown up. This situation stinks, but please put all of those potential wins or tossups in the hands of A.J. Price, Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert. If they can carry the team to W's, I can live with it. Otherwise, the value of those W's evaporates right after the final buzzer.