The Indiana Pacers Remain Slightly Above Average in the Power Rankings

The Indiana Pacers remain in the top half of the NBA despite embarrassing themselves in from of the entire world in London.

The Indiana Pacers are one of the better teams in the NBA even if they play terribly on the road.

Indiana’s five-game winning streak was snapped last week in London when the Pacers only showed up in body but not in spirit to face the Denver Nuggets.

Despite the loss, our roundup of experts have Indiana in the top-half of the NBA, but there are still plenty of concerns going into the coming weeks.

Indiana’s schedule is getting easier before it gets harder, as Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo notes the next 10 games only have two opponents with winning records. A perfect chance to create some room between themselves and lesser playoff-bound teams.

After that though, it gets tougher. Marc Stein of ESPN notes that the Pacers had the easiest schedule to start the season but one of the NBA’s tougher ones in the second half of the season — something our own Ryan Eggers wrote about recently.

The Pacers knocked off the Pelicans on Monday but now face a three-game road trip out west where they will face the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Utah Jazz.

Jeremy Woo

@Jeremy_Woo, Sports Illustrated

12

Things have broken mostly right for the Pacers lately. It’s a small sample size but they’ve been January’s top scoring team. Let’s hope that unsuccessful London trip won’t throw them off: they play just two teams currently over .500 in their next 10 games and are in position to in theory separate from the pack. (Last Week: 12th) — Sports Illustrated

Marc Stein

@ESPNSteinLine, ESPN

14

Perhaps you’ve grown weary of our pining for England and hearing how much we wished we were in London last week for Indy vs. Denver ABA Bowl (#sorrynotsorry). The Pacers certainly didn’t enjoy themselves in one of the Committee’s most beloved arenas, absorbing their third loss this season by 25-plus points. That’s obviously not the sort of trip Paul George was hoping for in the wake of Indiana’s recent five-game winning streak and with George, while abroad, becoming just the fourth active player (along with LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving) to be outfitted with his own Nike signature shoe. Indy has bizarrely either taken a lead of at least 20 points or has fallen behind by 20-plus points in 18 of 39 games to date. And there might be more trouble on the horizon: ESPN’s Basketball Power Index says that the Pacers have played the league’s easiest schedule so far but face the seventh-toughest remaining schedule from here. (Last week: 11) — ESPN

Matt Moore

@MattMooreCBS, CBS Sports

13

I’m working on a theory that the Pacers’ play diminishes relative to the distance from center court at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. They are awesome at home. They lost to a sub.-500 Nuggets team by 28. Maybe Indianapolis just makes really great mac and cheese or something.. (Last week: 13) — CBS Sports

John Schuhmann

@johnschuhmann, NBA

15

The Pacers flew 4,000 miles to get their butts kicked by the Nuggets. As they’ve improved offensively over the last couple of weeks, their defense has remained an issue. With the departures of George Hill, Ian Mahinmi and Frank Vogel last summer, they’ve taken an expected step backward on that end of the floor. In fact, they’ve taken the league’s biggest step backward on defense, allowing 5.6 more points per 100 possessions than they did last season. But as their soft schedule continues, they play only two of their next 12 games against top-10 offenses. (Last week: 14) — NBA

If Indiana wants to be anything more than average, they’ll need to pick up wins against the Kings and Lakers this week, which is no easy task.

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