Pacers stay hot, about to face tough stretch
by Mike Wells, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a good thing the outcome of the Indiana Pacers’ game against the Washington Wizards wasn’t based on style points.
The Pacers wouldn’t have fared well if that was the case.
In a game that offered little flare other Paul George’s continued all-around dominance, the Pacers did just enough to hold off the pesky Wizards 89-81 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday.
“Happy to get a win, wasn’t pretty, wasn’t a blow out, an eight-point home win,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “Give credit to Washington, they kept scratching and clawing. They keep fighting. It’s not always pretty, but (we found) a way to win.”
The Pacers (19-13) should feel fortunate that they played the Wizards, who are 22 games under .500, and not one of the top teams in league.
They probably wouldn’t have won the game. They did win, however, to improve to 9-2 over their last 11 games.
Now the real test is about to start for the Pacers.
They did what they were supposed to do by beating lightweights in the NBA. But the schedule is shifting back on them.
The Wizards and New Orleans Hornets are about to be replaced with the Miami Heat and New York Knicks.
Vogel knows what lies ahead of them, too. He didn’t shy away from the schedule by pulling out the standard coach cliché of taking things “one game at a game.”
The Pacers coach knows that starting on Friday in Boston the Pacers are about to play four straight games against teams that will be in the playoffs or expected to compete for a postseason spot.
“It’s exciting because we’re playing good basketball and it’s going to be an exciting test the next few games,” Vogel said. “Boston and then Milwaukee. Then obviously two top teams in the East, Miami and New York next week. It’s going to be fun.”
We’ll check back at the end of next week when they’re done playing those games to see if Vogel still thinks it’s fun.
This is a stretch where the Pacers can give a better indication of what type of team they really are. They are 3-10 against teams currently … [For more on Pacers stay hot, about to face tough stretch, click here.]