After the Phoenix Suns ran the Pacers out of the Fieldhouse last Saturday night, the home team appeared poised to go on a losing skid befitting a team missing several key players to start the season. Six of their next seven game were on the road with five of those road games against quality Western Conference opponents (yes, I'm including Sacramento in case you haven't seen them play this year) and LeBron's Cleveland Cavs.
But things aren't always as they appear.
The Pacers put forth two of their better efforts on the road in Dallas and San Antonio to begin start the stretch and now return home to play the Orlando Magic at the Fieldhouse on Friday. Maybe the home game is the one fans should be worried about.
The Pacers are 3-4 on the road and 3-5 at the Fieldhouse, but their level of play has been stronger on the road which shows up in their offensive and defensive efficiency numbers (via nba.com/stats).
The Pacers have been better both offensively (2.6 points per 100 possessions) and defensively (2.2 points per 100 possessions) on the road. Also consider the three road wins for the Pacers came against Miami, Chicago and Dallas, while the losses include an overtime loss at Washington, a three-point loss at Boston and a late-fade, six-point loss at San Antonio.
The five home losses aren't as bad as they may seem. Phoenix has been a bad matchup for the Pacers recently, Memphis is a veteran contender in the West, Washington is a budding star in the East. Even the Denver loss was to a team that started 1-6 with lots of turmoil but arrived at BLF to put up an "enough is enough" effort and have gone 5--2 since leaving Indy with a win.
But there is no disputing that the Pacers have looked much sharper and together with their effort on the road (despite accounting for a variety of injuries and playing rotations). So as the Pacers begin looking a little healthier with David West and C.J. Watson expected back against Orlando, the time is now to start establishing their home court advantage once again.