It is probably a safe assumption to guess that 99% of fans of Central Indiana sports will be watching the Colts playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. What kind of person won’t be watching the Colts game, even if it is just a few mere blocks away from where he’ll be? Well, the types that have to prepare for a basketball game that night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“I’ll be here early, and I’ll get my work in to be prepared,” said Pacers star Paul George. “I’m rooting for them. I hope that Indiana as a whole can come out with two wins. I wish them well.”
All work and no play, but of course that is probably why the Indiana Pacers (25-6) are sitting on top of the NBA with the best record, despite a 95-82 loss in Toronto on Wednesday. On Saturday night the Pacers host New Orleans (14-16), followed up with a short-trip to Cleveland (11-21) on Sunday afternoon. The Pacers know they will have their handful in both games no matter the teams records, and especially on Sunday. Four of Indiana’s six losses (the team is five for nine overall on the season) have come on the rear-end of back-to-back games, including the loss earlier in the week to the Raptors.
“The biggest thing is getting dialed in to an opponent without practice,” said Vogel on the biggest difficulty of two games in two days. “Without a shoot-around where you can walk through and all the tendencies, the sets that they like to run, and all that stuff. I think our guys take care of their bodies pretty well with this team. I don’t think it’s as much of a fatigue thing, as it is preparation thing.”
But of course before the game on Sunday against the Cavaliers, the Pacers will have a ready-opponent in New Orleans tomorrow night. The Pelicans opened-up their season against Indiana in their-only meeting of the season, a game the Pacers were able to steal away late in a 95-90 victory thanks to Paul George’s game-high 32 points. The key for the Pacers, as it was in that first game, is being able to control the paint against the likes of second-year sensation Anthony Davis (19.2 points, 10.3 rebounds) while keeping a hand in the face of Ryan Anderson (20.1 points) on the perimeter. Forward David West believes the team will be able to compete well in both contests.
“We have to prepare for the first opponent,” said West. “And then try to get our rest on the back end. We are built enough, and have enough guys on our team that we can handle it.”
The Pacers game against the Pelicans on Saturday night tips-off at 7:00.