The struggling Indiana Pacers hope they’re finally getting healthy enough to compete at a high level.
The Golden State Warriors have struggled to play at that level all season.
Indiana looks for its first season sweep of Golden State since 2005-06 on Monday night when it faces a Warriors team coming off its worst home loss in three seasons.
Making his season debut after undergoing knee surgery in March, Pacers forward Mike Dunleavy hit 4 of 7 from the field and scored 13 points Friday in a 113-92 loss to Dallas.
“I could have played more (than 15 minutes), but I think with the way the game went, they decided not to play me more. So far so good,” said Dunleavy, who returns to Oakland where he played his first four-plus seasons before being traded in Indiana during the 2006-07 season.
The Pacers (6-8), though, lost their fifth in six games Friday.
“We did not play tough enough. That’s why we got pounded,” coach Jim O’Brien said after Indiana was outrebounded 54-33. “You have to play with tremendous force and we did not.”
Pacers leading scorer Danny Granger(notes) also returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s 86-73 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Granger, who scored 20 points on 5 of 16 shooting versus the Mavericks, had 31 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in a 108-94 victory over the visiting Warriors on Nov. 11.
Granger is averaging 38.0 points and 11.3 rebounds in his last three games against Golden State, including a career-high 42-point effort in the Pacers’ last visit to Oracle Arena—a 120-117 win on Jan. 14.
While Indiana looks to get off to a good start on its four-game western trip, the Warriors (5-10) are trying to bounce back from Saturday’s 130-97 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.
It was Golden State’s most lopsided home loss since a 126-89 defeat to Sacramento on March 26, 2007.
“We played a very bad game,” Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart said following the team’s second straight loss. “We never got into the game. We didn’t show our fans how we are able to play and have been playing.”
Smart has taken over coaching duties the last three games while Don Nelson recovers from pneumonia. Nelson isn’t expected back until Thursday against Houston.
Warriors leading scorer Monta Ellis(notes) looks to get back on track after missing 11 of 19 shots and scoring 18 points Saturday. Ellis was averaging 37.7 points on 53.7 percent shooting in his previous three games.
He had 16 points with nine rebounds in the Nov. 11 loss in Indianapolis.
Hansbrough is expected to play Monday after leaving in the third quarter Friday with a bruised left knee.