Kings-Pacers Preview


After splitting two games against teams that finished well below .500 last season, the Indiana Pacers will try to get back in the win column when they return home to take on another such foe.

The Pacers will also seek to add to the Sacramento Kings' struggles this season during their debut at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

Indiana opened its season Wednesday with a 90-88 victory over Toronto, which was 23-43 in 2011-12, when George Hill hit the tiebreaking shot with two seconds left. The Pacers, though, couldn't pull out another close game Friday in Charlotte, falling 90-89.

Indiana held the Bobcats, who finished with the worst winning percentage in NBA history last season and had lost 23 straight games, to 36.5 percent shooting but couldn't get enough at their own end of the floor.

The Pacers shot 39.8 percent and made only 16 of 27 from the free-throw line (59.3 percent).

"It was a tough shooting night, but you have to give the Bobcats credit," coach Frank Vogel said. "We turned the ball over too much and we couldn't knock down our free throws."

Former Bobcat D.J. Augustin had a chance to follow Hill's lead and play the hero, but couldn't connect on a 3-pointer just before the buzzer. The Pacers are currently playing without perennial scoring leader Danny Granger, who is awaiting a second opinion on his sore left knee and is out indefinitely.

"You just learn from it. You can't get too high and you can't get too low right now," center Roy Hibbert said. "We're not complete and we're not completely healthy, but eventually we'll get there."

Indiana (1-1) will try to overcome Granger's absence when it welcomes Sacramento, which finished 22-44 last season and is seeking to avoid its second 0-3 start in four seasons.

The Kings have averaged 83.5 points on 38.2 percent shooting in their first two games and have missed 24 of 33 from 3-point range. They were 3 of 16 from beyond the arc Friday in Minnesota and shot 36.0 percent overall in a 92-80 loss.

After scoring 21 points in a 93-87 defeat in Chicago on Wednesday, Tyreke Evans had six on 3-of-14 shooting against the Timberwolves. With 20 points, Isaiah Thomas was the only starter to score more than 11 in Friday's game.

"Part of growing up with this team is not to take the quick shots at that particular point, to focus on what you need at that moment, and obviously it didn't happen," coach Keith Smart said.

The Kings have won two straight against Indiana, taking last season's only meeting 92-88 at home on Jan. 18 despite shooting 30.1 percent.

During their most recent visit to Indiana, DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points to lead six players in double figures and 14 rebounds in a 110-93 victory on March 25, 2011.