Kings-Pacers Preview

The Associated Press

The defensive-minded Indiana Pacers have given opponents fits all season, and they proved especially stingy last time out.

The last-place Sacramento Kings are on the verge of their longest winning streak in three seasons thanks to an impressive display on both ends of the floor.

Looking to continue their home dominance, the Pacers try to slow down the Kings on Tuesday night.

NBA-leading Indiana (29-7) has limited teams to 40.9 percent shooting and 87.9 points per game to rank first in the league in both categories. The Pacers were at their best in Friday's 93-66 rout of Washington, giving up their fewest points since 2005 in improving to 18-1 at home.

"It's just nothing like playing at home," star swingman Paul George told the Pacers' official website. "The attendance has been great for us. I don't know what it is. There's just something about playing at home that you want to protect your home court and you want to come out and perform in front of the home crowd.

"I know personally, that's what keeps me going and keeps me locked in defensively."

Indiana limited the Wizards to a season-low 32.1 percent shooting, outrebounded them 61-41 and held a 38-18 edge in the paint.

"This was a sensational defensive effort," said coach Frank Vogel, whose team has won seven straight at home by an average of 20.0 points. "You want to see a team come out and play as hard as any on the defensive end, come see this team play."

The Pacers now turn their attention to the Kings (13-22), who have averaged 116.7 points during a season-high three-game winning streak. Sacramento has also limited foes to an average of 94.0 points and 38.7 percent shooting during its run, much lower than its season marks of 103.6 and 46.7.

The Kings haven't won four in a row since March 23-29, 2011.

"Consistency isn't something we've shown defensively, but the last three games I think the defense has been consistent, the effort has been there, and the communication has been there," coach Michael Malone said. "We bought in the last three games and protected our home court. That's great."

The Kings, set to hit the road for six straight in opposing arenas, are hoping to see their momentum carry over after blowing out Cleveland 124-80 on Sunday.

Isaiah Thomas had 26 points and Rudy Gay, averaging 24.7 while shooting 63.4 percent during the winning streak, scored 20. DeMarcus Cousins added 16 and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes before receiving some well-deserved rest.

"It felt weird, sitting out the whole fourth. Unless I fouled out, I don't think I've ever been in that situation," said Cousins, averaging 26.8 points and 12.6 boards in five games this month. "It felt good to see some of the guys play a lot of minutes and get out there and have good games. It was a good win all around."

Cousins, who has recorded a career-best 10 consecutive double-doubles, is averaging 18.2 points and 14.0 rebounds in five meetings against the Pacers. He's been limited to 32.8 percent shooting in the last three, though.

George's average of 10.5 points in four games versus Sacramento is his second-lowest against any team. George, averaging a team-leading 22.6 points, finished with a season-low eight on 2-of-14 shooting against the Wizards.

George has posted just 16.5 points per game over the last six while shooting 34.3 percent, way below his season mark of 45.1.

The Pacers have taken six of nine from Sacramento after winning both matchups in 2012-13. They have won all four home games against Western Conference opponents this season by an average of 20.0 points.

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