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Three things to watch this weekend: Can Pacers stay unbeaten?

Nov 8, 2013, 4:38 PM EDT

Indiana Pacers v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

We here at PBT don’t believe in “days off” or “sleep” or any of the rest of that pansy stuff — we will be here all weekend giving you NBA content. Still, we want to give you some NBA storylines to watch over the weekend as you bounce between your regular Saturday pickup game and getting to the bar to watch the Notre Dame game.

1) Can Pacers stay unbeaten? The Pacers are the one remaining undefeated team in the NBA and are feeling good about themselves — but they have a tough back-to-back this weekend. Friday night they host Toronto — a team that has a center in Jonas Valanciunas that can test Roy Hibbert in the paint, plus they have scorers like Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan who can get hot. Take them for granted and the Rockets can sneak up on you and beat you.

Why would the Pacers look past the Raptors? Because Saturday night they play in Brooklyn. The Nets are another team with a quality center in Brook Lopez and plenty of quality players like Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and so on. While the Nets are still finding themselves they are capable of great games and they have moved the ball well on offense, which will test the tired legs of the Pacers that second night of a back-to-back.

2) How will the Knicks look without Tyson Chandler? The Knicks are already 1-3, having to have team meetings and now have lost center and defensive anchor Tyson Chandler for at least a month. The Knicks offense has been stagnant and unimpressive so far and with Chandler gone the defense isn’t going to bail it out anymore (the Knicks have been almost 15 points per 100 possessions worse on D with Chandler off the court). The Knicks have the second game of their home-and-home with Charlotte Friday — and Charlotte won the front end of that in Madison Square Garden. If the Knicks are going to get a win it’s probably that game because the machine that is the Spurs rolls into New York on Sunday. That’s a tough matchup for New York.

3) A Clippers/Rockets rematch Saturday night. Before the season started the Clippers and Rockets were thought of as potential contenders out of the West — and they both are, we’re not even two weeks into the season and teams will evolve and change over the course of the next six months. But the first couple weeks have exposed flaws in both these teams defensively — and Monday night the Clippers completely exposed the Rockets deficiencies bare in a 137-118 win. The Rockets perimeter defense is bad, particularly that of James Harden, so the Clippers ran his man J.J. Redick off a lot of picks, which Harden didn’t even try to fight through. Redick had 15 first quarter points and the Clippers were off to a big lead they never really surrendered.

The Rockets can play better, and it will be interesting to see what adjustments they make because the Clippers defense has been even worse this season. The Rockets put up points; they just couldn’t get stops Monday.

  1. davidly - Nov 8, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    With seven games Indiana will have already completed it’s third back-to-back, and then with another one next weekend. Is this normal?

    • legend30 - Nov 8, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      Yes, this is normal. Every team goes through a tough stretch — the Pacers just have to deal with this early, which looks bad right now, but this will be very beneficial for them in the long stretch. They will be fine.

  2. azarkhan - Nov 8, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    “the machine that is the Spurs”

    An apt description for the Spurs! But for Spur fans, the most important game is tonight, when an excellent Golden State Warriors team rolls into San Antonio to play the Spurs. Go Spurs!

  3. Anoesis - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    “Friday night they host Toronto…. Take them for granted and the Rockets can sneak up on you and beat you.”

    When did the Rockets move to Toronto? Did I miss the memo? Does Howard know about this?

  4. peterjohnjoseph - Nov 9, 2013 at 3:24 AM

    Can the Celtics beat Miami?

    Honestly, I don’t think its half as ridiculous as it sounds.. If its happens its not only big as far as upsets go, but it also will completely throw a wrench in the Celtics lottery plans. They’ve been in every game this season down to the wire. Leading 4 of 6 games by 12-22 points by halftime or going into the fourth quarter. With Rondo coming back, you have to wonder.. could the rebuild come sooner than later with the lottery idea partially going out the window?

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