The Pacers tip off the 2019 calendar year with a five-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. With Disney on Ice at the Fieldhouse for a few days, the Pacers begin the rare roadie against teams from the East in Chicago on Friday night.
At least they won’t be road weary after that short trip. From the UC the Pacers head to Toronto to face the Raptors on the road for the second time this season. Then back to the States for a back-to-back against Cleveland and Boston before wrapping up the trip at Madison Square Garden for an ESPN game against the Knicks next Friday.
On the surface, returning to the Fiedlhouse after the eight-day trip with a 3-2 record seems reasonable, but the NBA is anything but predictable, especially for the road team. Just look at the Pacers who no one predicted to have the fourth-best record in the NBA at any point in the season, but here they are.
Now the schedule begins to stiffen with eight of their 14 games on the road in January. While the Pacers have done well focusing on one game at a time, using that formula for success in back-to-back games, they have to continue delivering the consistent defensive effort they’ve shown throughout the season along with the quality ball movement to share the wealth on offense over the past month.
None of that is easy to maintain throughout the NBA regular season grind, but the Pacers begin January as the hottest team in the East. We’ll see if that remains the case when they return home next Friday.
As for Friday, Aaron Holiday (illness) and Myles Turner (broken nose) are both listed as questionable, although Turner expects to give it a go with a mask to protect his nose.
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