The Indiana Pacers travel to New Orleans on Saturday night, riding a five-game winning streak, their longest of the season. Indiana currently sits at third place in the Eastern Conference, and at 22-12, have the fifth-best record in the league. Still, prior to this recent win streak, the Pacers had lost five games in a row. Even though the team seems to be headed in the right direction, there are questions concerning the validity of the victories.
A win is a win, and on any given night, a team can only play whomever they are matched up against. It is still worth mentioning that none of the teams Indiana has beaten in the last five games currently have a winning record. In fact, the four teams Indiana has beat during their five straight wins have a combined record of 37-99.
The Pacers have had their fair share of ups and downs during the first half of this lockout-shortened season. In early February, Indiana defeated the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks, in Texas. Less than two weeks later, the Pacers lost to the Cavaliers, who currently have a record of 13-20.
The strengths of this up-and-coming team will be tested over the next few weeks. The Pacers play four of their next five games away from home. After New Orleans, Indiana’s next nine games are against opponents with a record of .500 or better, including trips to Chicago and New York. The Pacers will also face back-to-back games in Florida, against Miami and Orlando.