The Indiana Pacers have started a stretch of games that almost seem unfair to the rest of the NBA. Indiana will play 12 of their next 15 games against teams currently out of the playoff chase. The only games against playoff teams are the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, and the last two are currently at the very bottom of the Western Conference playoffs.
This is a very important stretch for the Pacers though. Currently holding the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, this gives them the opportunity to possibly put a little distance between them and the Miami Heat, as the Heat sit two games behind Indiana right now for that top spot.
You may be asking what the big deal is about that top spot. If you rewind the clock to last May, the Pacers would have loved to be the No. 1 team in the East. During the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pacers and the Heat battled through six games and the series was tied at three games a piece.
The seventh and deciding game was played in Miami because they were the higher seed. If Indiana hosted Game 7, there’s no telling what could have happened. However, they didn’t and Miami defeated the Pacers and ultimately the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. This stretch of games is important for the Pacers to hopefully pull ahead and claim that No. 1 seed.
Of course, the Pacers have already split the first two games of this stretch, which doesn’t bode well for a team hoping to gain home-court advantage. If they find themselves visiting Miami in late May to play a Game 7, they may look back at this stretch of games and point out a few they lost that they should have won.