At the time the Pacers were 2-3 after the first five games and with two sets of back-to-back road games against quality opponents and home dates against the Spurs, Celtics, Raptors and Thunder, finishing the stretch 3-13 was quite plausible. As it turns out, the Pacers scored big wins over the Spurs and Celtics at home, while also beating the Wizards and Mavericks on the road to finish 6-7.
More importantly, the Pacers played pretty well throughout the stretch while working through a variety of minor injuries. Save for the debacle in Atlanta, the Pacers were at least in position to win most of the games they lost. The final two L's at the Fieldhouse to Toronto and OKC were frustrating but still came down to little things that loomed big down the stretch.
Despite finishing a bit better than expected, the Pacers remain just a half game out of playoff contention while clinging the the seventh spot in the East. The Bulls, Pistons and Wizards have all kept pace in the standings so now as the schedule lightens up, the Pacers have to take advantage. Indiana has the weakest strength of schedule for the remaining games of all teams in the East.
It all starts tonight with Philly in town for the first of three games, along with New Orleans sans Anthony Davis on Thursday and a game at Brooklyn on Saturday, the Pacers can use to build a strong finishing kick.
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