The Indiana Pacers weren't at their best in the finale of their most recent set of back-to-back games. They'll try to bounce back by getting their next one off to a strong start Saturday night.
The Pacers will also seek to add to their recent success against the New Orleans Pelicans, who might not have leading scorer Ryan Anderson available.
Indiana committed a season-high 23 turnovers and finished with a season low in points in its 95-82 loss in Toronto on Wednesday.
"We just played uncharacteristic basketball. I think it was more so us not dialing in and not executing than them outplaying us," leading scorer Paul George said after the end to a five-game win streak. "We're a team that never gets too high or too low after a win or a loss. (The back-to-backs) are just quick turnarounds. That's the toughest part."
The Pacers (25-6), who are 9-0 in the openers of back-to-back contests, will try to rebound by earning their sixth consecutive win over New Orleans (15-16) before visiting Cleveland on Sunday. The Pelicans have won four of six and topped Boston 95-92 on the road Friday, but Anderson was taken from the court on a stretcher early in the fourth quarter.
Anderson, averaging 19.8 points, collided with the Celtics' Gerald Wallace, and the preliminary diagnosis was a "cervical stinger." The forward was taken to a Boston hospital to be evaluated.
"We are just praying for his health. He looked like he was OK," coach Monty Williams said. "I was more worried about his mother. I know she's at home, a nervous wreck, so hopefully she hears this message and is cool with the fact that he's OK and in good hands."
Anderson was out with a toe injury during New Orleans' only other meeting with Indiana this season, a 95-90 home loss in the season opener Oct. 30. Three Pelicans scored at least 20 points, led by Eric Gordon's 25, but no other player had more than eight.
George scored 32 points, including four free throws in the final 12 seconds, and George Hill capped a pivotal 8-0 run by making a 3-pointer with 31 seconds to go.
The Pacers have played even more competitive games during their string of three consecutive home wins over New Orleans. The last two have gone to overtime and the other was decided by one point.
George scored 37 points and made a career-high nine 3-pointers in the most recent matchup in Indianapolis, a 115-107 victory on Nov. 21, 2012. He's averaging 28.7 points and is 14 for 29 (48.3 percent) from beyond the arc in his last three games against the Pelicans.
Gordon, an Indianapolis native, has been inactive for the last two visits to Indiana but he's expected to play in this one. Gordon has averaged 19.0 points in seven lifetime matchups against his hometown team but has shot 32.4 percent (12 for 37) while averaging 13.3 points in his three games in Indiana.
Gordon has played in one victory there - a 117-109 overtime win for the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 19, 2008 - and could have trouble experiencing another. Indiana has the league's best home record at 15-1 while Friday's victory was just the second win in the last eight road games for New Orleans.
Indiana's David West has averaged 16.6 points and 8.2 rebounds while going 5-0 against his former club. He missed eight of 11 shots in the win in October but finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
- Sports & Recreation
- New Orleans Pelicans
- New Orleans
- Ryan Anderson