Thunder take on Sabonis and surging Pacers

The Indiana Pacers have reversed course from a slow start to the season by winning six of their last seven games, and they've used a balanced effort to do it.

The Pacers aim to continue their ascent Tuesday night when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Indianapolis.

Sure, Domantas Sabonis recorded his fourth straight double-double with a team-high 21 points and 16 rebounds in Indiana's 109-102 victory over Orlando on Sunday, but the power forward wasn't alone.

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T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon each added 19 points, while Doug McDermott (18 points) and T.J. McConnell (12 points, eight assists) contributed off the bench.

"I thought both groups (starters and reserves) were solid, but you need your second group to play like these guys have been playing," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. "We had good ball movement, our guys were sharing the ball and defending hard. When you do that, you're going to be tough to beat."

Indiana has been tough to beat as it waits for All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to return following knee surgery and center Myles Turner to come back from an ailing ankle.

"Everybody's excited for the game. Can't wait to go out there and play," Sabonis told the Indianapolis Star. "Everyone is having fun. Everyone is contributing. It's fun to be out there.

"The bench, they're amazing the last four or five games. Everybody is finding each other. We can get the shots we want. We just got to lock in on defense."

Oklahoma City features a balanced attack of its own, however the club saw its three-game home winning streak come to a halt with a 121-119 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday.

Dennis Schroder came off the bench to shoot 9 of 12 from the field for a team-high 25 points, with three timely 3-pointers included in the mix.

"I thought (Sunday) as the game went down to the end, he's so cagey out there," forward Mike Muscala said of Schroder, per The Oklahoman. "He hit those 3s. Just competing every play, and I think that's why he's so hard to guard."

Muscala did him one better by making four shots from the beyond the arc in the first half to improve to 7 for 14 from 3-point range since beginning the season mired in a 1-for-19 rut.

Muscala's performance boosted a short-handed Thunder club that was without center Steven Adams for the third time this season with a left knee contusion.

"I don't think it's serious," Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. "I think he's been dealing with it for a little bit of time. ... When he came back to play, I think it was a little bit sore. I kind of made the comment before the game that I fully anticipated him playing. But I think with where he's at physically right now, it's probably better off for him to sit out instead of having this linger."

Nerlens Noel drew the start in place of Adams, scoring 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting while blocking two shots. Seven OKC players scored in double figures.

--Field Level Media

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