Ugly Start To Road Trip Continues For Pacers
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INDIANAPOLIS – All season long the Indiana Pacers have a done a very sound job in taking care of the NBA’s bottom feeders.
That has not happened at all this week.
On Wednesday night, the Pacers lost to the Atlanta Hawks (19-43), which followed a road loss to the Dallas Mavericks (19-43) on Monday.
Wednesday’s defeat in Atlanta came thanks to Indiana committing 24 turnovers and falling behind by 23 points in the third quarter to one of the NBA’s worst teams.
“That’s what went wrong. You can’t have 24 turnovers,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said on Wednesday.
“We’ve been a team that has taken care of the ball – one of the better teams in the league. Tonight, there was a lot of one-on-one play, playing in traffic, just loose with the basketball. We had several guys with three or more turnovers. We were not sharp at all out there.”
Led by Bojan Bogdanovic’s 26 points, Indiana roared back to cut the deficit to 2 points with less than a minute to play, before Atlanta point guard Dennis Schroder closed the game with a couple of difficult baskets.
The 107-102 loss for Indiana has them 0-2 on this four-game road trip that is about to make stops in Milwaukee and Washington D.C.
Without Darren Collison (left knee), who’s return is not expected to come on this road trip, Indiana struggled mightily in taking care of the basketball.
Victor Oladipo was 9-of-25 from the floor (1-of-9 from three-point range), but did add 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals.
After a double-double on Monday in Dallas, Myles Turner picked up 2 early fouls and played just 16 minutes against the Hawks.
Even though the Pacers are still slotted in the 5th spot of the Eastern Conference, and have a 5-game cushion on the 9th spot, their schedule is about to get much tougher.
Indiana is headed for a stretch with 8 of 9 games against playoff teams. Five of those eight are coming away from home.
“We’re getting a taste of what it’s going to be like going down the stretch with these remaining games - teams stepping their game up, even these teams that people are saying don’t have anything to play for,” McMillan said after the loss to the Hawks.
“Those guys over there, they have pride, and they’re going to play hard. And they outworked us tonight.”
What’s Next: The Pacers (34-27) have 2 more games left on this road trip: Milwaukee (Friday) and Washington (Sunday).