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Pacers Links: Pacers survive rough stretch of schedule now have to secure playoff spot

The Pacers begin the final 13 games of the season just a half game ahead of playoff extinction, but should be able to take advantage of the remaining schedule to secure their plans for post-season play.

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, we looked over the final 26 games of the season for the Pacers and how the first 13 games were going to be difficult while the schedule would ease up for the final 13 games.

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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Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers vs 76ers | Indiana Pacers

Game Rewind: Pacers 111, Thunder 115 | Indiana Pacers

Time running out for Lawson to help Pacers | WFNI ESPN 1070 the Fan | Indy's SportsCenter

Pacers hope ball movement leads to playoff berth

76ers-Pacers Preview - AP

Sixers can learn from Carl Landry, Elton Brand after loss to Celtics | Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

Celtics Smack Down Sixers To Complete Season Sweep, 120-105 - Liberty Ballers

Paul George's 45 not enough to overcome Thunder

Hill Climbs Back into the Rotation | Indiana Pacers

Recap: Thunder hold off late assault from Pacers, 115-111 - Welcome to Loud City

Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelicans done for rest of the season - Stats & Info- ESPN

Myles Turner Not Taking Texas Longhorns Loss Very Well

Sources: NBA, players union agree to shorten free-agent moratorium - Yahoo Sports