An ongoing distraction away from basketball does not seem to be negatively affecting the Indiana Pacers on the court.
One day after two of their players were set free by police after being booked on charges, the Pacers go for a season-high fourth straight win as they visit the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels were indicted Wednesday on charges from a Feb. 6 bar fight. The Pacers’ teammates surrendered to police after a 136-129 double-overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, and were released on their own recognizance early Thursday.
Tinsley was indicted on a felony charge of intimidation and misdemeanor counts of battery, disorderly conduct and intimidation in the fight at 8 Seconds Saloon. Daniels was charged with battery and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.
Teammate Keith McCleod was said to be involved in pushing and shoving during the fight, but was not charged.
A judge scheduled a pretrial hearing for March 13. The Pacers play at Minnesota that night. Lawyers for both players said they would be entering not guilty pleas, while the team released its own statement.
“In our system of justice, grand juries do not find anyone guilty of anything,” the statement said. “We need to give the process time to treat everyone fairly and reach a just result.”
The story overshadowed the third straight victory for the Pacers (29-24), tying their longest winning streak of the season, set on three other occasions. The team would match its longest win streak from all of last season with a victory Friday.
“We’ve got to stay focused as a team,” said Daniels, who had 22 points off the bench. “We just had to stay together and win together.”
Daniels has averaged 18.0 points during the three-game win streak after missing seven games with a sore knee.
Tinsley finished with 11 points and 11 assists Wednesday. He’s struggled with his shot recently, making 34.4 percent from the field over the past six games, but has averaged 10.2 assists in that span.
This is the Indiana’s third meeting with the Raptors (29-25) this season. Toronto won 92-83 on Nov. 26 at the Air Canada Centre and Indiana won 102-84 on Jan. 27 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The Raptors are coming off an 86-85 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. Chris Bosh had 24 points and 10 rebounds, but was dunked over by Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao on a putback with 16 seconds left for the winning basket.
It was the first game following the All-Star break for Toronto, which had an eight-game home winning streak snapped.
“We didn’t play the style of play we usually do that kept us winning games,” Bosh said. “It’s the first game back and I think people were concerned about us playing flat. I don’t think we showed the same aggressive team play that we normally do. We just have to learn from this and try to get it going for the last stretch of the season.”
The Raptors enter that stretch with a new face, having acquired Juan Dixon from Portland for Fred Jones in an exchange of backup guards just before Thursday’s trade deadline. Dixon has averaged 8.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists this season.