The Pacers begin the second half of the season in New York when they take on the Knicks on Friday night, where they will once again play without Myles Turner (per J.Michael). After a text-book schedule loss in Boston on Monday, the Pacers are 27-14 at the midway mark.
Following a strong start through a tough, early stretch of the schedule, the Pacers feasted on a soft December slate, then started January holding serve through four games on the road. That made for an admirable first half of the season over all leaving the Pacers in third place in the East.
Now the Pacers are trying to keep things together as the grind of the regular season is felt from now until the All-Star break. The Pacers have struggled absent Myles Turner, which has been quite noticeable on the defensive end. Plus, Darren Collison and Corey Joseph have been playing through minor leg injuries and Victor Oladipo is still trying to get his game back to 100 percent after missing 11 games earlier in the season.
Holding serve by just earning expected wins against sub-.500 teams and then losing against better teams won’t cut it for the long haul. But the Pacers do have some factors turning in their favor after wrapping up the five-game roadie in New York. Three full days off and then a home game against the Suns starts a five-game homestand which includes big games against Philadelphia, Dallas and Toronto.
The opportunity to rest the nagging injuries and enjoy some real practice time should set the Pacers up to win more than they lost during the homestand which would give them a boost to maintain their level of play. Injuries at this time of year are often a deciding factor in games, but every team is dealing with the regular season grind. It comes down to bringing energy to the game and the Pacers have been one of the best teams in the league this year and last at, when all else fails, working harder for the win than their opponent.
Time to come home and find that groove, again.
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