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Pacers Links: Pacers start January on the road for next five games

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The hottest team in the East hits the road for eight days.

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NBA: Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers at Bulls | Indiana Pacers

Turner Joins the Masked Brigade | Indiana Pacers

Game Rewind: Pacers 116, Hawks 108 | Indiana Pacers

Pacers Grew a Lot in 2018 | Indiana Pacers

The Athletic’s NBA Power Rankings: New Year’s resolutions and life hacks – The Athletic

Moore: It's Time to Buy in on the Indiana Pacers | The Action Network

The Pacers' Legitimacy As Eastern Conference Contenders — NBA — The Sports Quotient

Hawks fall short against Pacers despite encouraging effort - Peachtree Hoops

New Years resolutions for the Indiana Pacers in 2019

Sabonis and the Pacers are roaring | Eurohoops

Power Rankings, Week 12: Bucks are No. 1 as start of 2019 looms | NBA.com

Inside the Numbers: How the Pacers went 12-3 in December – The Athletic

How Indiana Pacers players police each other to success in the NBA

Pacers bring elite defense to five-game road trip

Chicago Bulls trade Justin Holiday to Memphis Grizzlies for two 2nd-round picks - Blog a Bull

It’s entirely possible Jim Boylen doesn’t know what he’s doing - Blog a Bull

Pacers' Myles Turner being fitted for face mask after breaking nose

Low-maintenance Wendell Carter Jr. stays positive after benching: 'It's something I can use to play better' - Chicago Tribune

Bulls deal Justin Holiday to Grizzlies for Marshon Brooks, Wayne Selden Jr. | NBA.com

Bulls' Bobby Portis: Goes through full practice - CBSSports.com