The Pacers (17-16), who have not won more than two games in a row all season, could be riding a four-game win streak had they played better in the fourth quarter of their last two losses.
Indiana was outscored by nine points in the final quarter of its 113-102 loss to Charlotte last Saturday, and by 10 in the final period of its 100-91 loss to Dallas on Thursday.
The Pacers had five turnovers leading to nine Mavericks points in the fourth quarter, and made just 5-of-21 (23.8) field goal attempts in that period.
“We showed that we can certainly play with this caliber of team, but to win you’ve got to be a little more solid in some areas,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’re going to keep working to do that.”
The Pacers also had a fourth-quarter collapse in their 100-91 loss to the Hornets (12-20) on Nov. 3, getting outscored 31-19 in the final 12 minutes as it connected on 8-of-23 (34.8 percent) of its shots in that quarter.
Al Harrington had one of his worst games of the season in that contest, scoring just four points on 1-of-9 shooting. Harrington had 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 11 rebounds against Dallas.
Jermaine O’Neal had 20 points and matched a season high with 16 rebounds against the Mavericks for his sixth straight double-double. O’Neal is averaging 24.0 points and 13.7 boards in his last three games, and had 25 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots against the Hornets earlier this season.
Due to injuries, New Orleans is using a vastly different lineup since the last time it played Indiana, and it has shown.
The Hornets opened the season 8-3 through Nov. 21, but have lost 17 of their last 21 games.
They have been without starters Chris Paul (sprained right ankle), Peja Stojakovic (back surgery) and David West (right elbow surgery), who combined to score 44 points against the Pacers earlier this season.
New Orleans lost to Detroit 92-68 on Thursday for its third straight loss.
The Hornets, who rank last in the NBA in scoring (89.5 points), had their lowest point total of the season against the Pistons and shot a season-low 33.0 percent.
“We’ve got to do things to get us over the hump, and we’re all we’ve got in this locker room,” said guard Bobby Jackson, who made a brief return after missing 16 games with a cracked left rib. “We’ve got to stick together, we’ve got to play hard, we’ve got to go out and do the things as a team that’s going to help us get better.”
Jackson scored seven points in 10 minutes before leaving in the second quarter. He scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in 25 minutes against the Pacers in November and said he expects to play in this game.