The Indiana Pacers defeated the New Orleans Hornets for their third win in a row last week. After extending their run with two more victories, the Pacers find themselves on the verge of matching their longest winning streak in almost seven years.
Indiana tries for a sixth consecutive win Saturday night against the Hornets as David West returns to New Orleans for the first time.
One night after knocking off the Hornets 117-108 in overtime, the Pacers (22-12) prevailed 102-88 at Charlotte on Feb. 22 to enter All-Star weekend with plenty of momentum.
Indiana picked up right where it left off following the break, outrebounding Golden State 54-45 and scoring 26 fast-break points during Tuesday's 102-78 rout.
"We wanted to come in and get the post-All-Star season started in the best fashion that we could," Danny Granger said.
"We got a lot of deflections and a lot of steals, a lot of fast break points, and typically, when we get a lot of fast break points, we usually win."
The Pacers, who haven't won six in a row since March 28-April 8, 2005, hold a 250-199 rebounding edge and have outscored opponents by an average of 17.4 points during their current run.
Granger had a game-high 25 points Tuesday while Roy Hibbert added 12 and nine boards.
"He was on fire, so we kept going to him," Hibbert said of Granger. "Just like any other night. If I'm getting going, or D-West is going, they're going to keep feeding us."
West spent his first eight seasons with the Hornets (9-27) before signing a two-year deal with Indiana following the lockout. While he's averaging a lackluster 12.4 points - his lowest mark since recording 6.2 per game in 2004-05 while playing only 30 games due to a knee injury, West's 6.8 rebounds per contest rank second on the Pacers.
West had 16 points against his former team Feb. 21 while Hibbert scored a career-high 30, helping Indiana win for just the second time in eight games between the teams. The Hornets shot 53.2 percent from the field during that game - the highest mark by any Pacers opponent this season.
"We know New Orleans will be ready for us because of the other night," Hibbert told the team's official website. "We will be ready."
New Orleans regrouped from back-to-back defeats in impressive fashion Friday, defeating Dallas 97-92 while outrebounding the Mavericks 50-34. Since dropping 14 of 16 at home to open the season, the Hornets have won two of three on their own court.
"It means a lot. Our fans came out (Friday) and supported us. It was huge to get a win for our fans," said Greivis Vasquez, who came off the bench after starting each of the previous nine games.
"It says a lot about (Friday) It was intense and to come out like this and play against a team like Dallas; that is big time and something that tells you that this team really cares about everyone in the locker room. It was great to get a great win like this."
Six players scored in double figures, with Chris Kaman totaling 20 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double.
New Orleans, which continues to play without Carl Landry (MCL sprain), Emeka Okafor (sore left knee), big man Jason Smith (concussion) and star Eric Gordon (right knee), was also without Trevor Ariza (illness) on Friday.
Averaging 14.2 points over his last 12 games, Ariza is uncertain to be available in this one.