Last Updated: Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m.
The Pacers (7-14) face another arduous task on Wednesday night when they host the Los Angeles Clippers (15-5) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The two teams are trending in opposite directions, with the Pacers having lost five straight games and the Clippers riding an eight-game winning streak.
The Pacers struggled to contain the Atlanta Hawks in Monday's 108-92 loss. Atlanta shot 52 percent from the field and made nine 3-pointers in a comfortable win. Atlanta got hot early, scoring 28 first-quarter points and led by double digits the rest of the way. Multiple Pacers players said after the game that they can't afford to let the opposition build an early lead like that and need to show more energy at the start of games.
"Obviously the starting five have to do a better job," Pacers center Roy Hibbert said after Tuesday's practice. "We've been down the last couple games in the first quarter. That's on us."
Statistically, the Clippers are an even better offensive team than Atlanta. Through 20 games, the Clips lead the NBA in both field goal and 3-point percentage and rank third in points per game.
One of the Clippers' strengths is their frontcourt. Blake Griffin leads Los Angeles and ranks fifth in the NBA with a scoring average of 24 points per game and is coming off a 45-point performance in a 121-120 overtime win over Phoenix on Monday. Griffin even seems to have lady luck on his side after bouncing in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Clips to victory. Griffin is shooting just under 51 percent from the field and averages 7.6 rebounds per game. His frontcourt partner DeAndre Jordan isn't as big of an offensive threat, but has been extremely efficient so far this year. Jordan boasts a ridiculous .743 field goal percentage and ranks second in the NBA in both rebounding (12.3 per game) and blocked shots (2.6).
But as good as Griffin and Jordan have been, the Clippers' MVP is point guard Chris Paul. A four-time selection to the All-NBA First Team, Paul is having arguably his best statistical season in 2014-15. Paul averages 18.1 points and 9.9 assists per game and is shooting 51.7 percent from the field. Paul's assist-to-turnover ratio of 6.16 leads the league by a wide margin (the next-closest starting point guard is Toronto's Kyle Lowry at 3.78).
With two of their next five games against the Clippers and additional upcoming contests against Toronto (16-5) and Portland (16-4), the Pacers know that breaking out of their skid won't be easy. Still, the Blue-and-Gold are trying to remain positive.
"We’ve got to keep out spirits up," point guard Rodney Stuckey. "We know that we’re in a slump right now, but we’ve got to fight our way out of it. (We've got) another opportunity tomorrow to come out here and play basketball."
Pacers: PG - Rodney Stuckey, SG - Solomon Hill, SF - Chris Copeland, PF - David West, C - Roy Hibbert
Clippers: PG - Chris Paul, SG - J.J. Redick, SF - Matt Barnes, PF - Blake Griffin, C - DeAndre Jordan
Pacers: Paul George - out (rehabilitation, fractured right tibia/fibula), George Hill - out (left knee contusion), Ian Mahinmi - out (torn left plantar fascia)
Clippers: Reggie Bullock - doubtful (right ankle sprain), Jordan Farmar - doubtful (back spasms), Chris Douglas-Roberts - doubtful (strained right achilles)
You Can Quote Me On That
"We had a real good day in practice (Tuesday). We put some things in perspective, addressed some issues. We’re trying to change on the fly right now." -Hibbert
"I think focusing on the basics is a big thing for us in practice. Honing in on the things that we did well when we did when and trying to repeat those things in practice so that they become habits in a game." -Pacers forward Chris Copeland
"I think it’s important for these guys to see what they’re doing wrong, so they can correct it. It’s a deflating thing to go out there and not know what’s happening. So that’s why I always rely on the film. You go in and see exactly what’s happening, why we’re not winning games and things that are contributing to us losing. You work on it in practice and try to get better at it." -Pacers head coach Frank Vogel
"We don’t have to win the next five in a row. We’ve got to win the next game. One game at a time." -Vogel
"The East is so different from the West. I mean, even though we’re what, 7-14 right now, we still have a good opportunity to make the playoffs. That’s still our goal." -Stuckey
January 18, 2014: Paul George scored 36 points to lead the Pacers to a 106-92 win over the Clippers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. George made 12-of-17 shots, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range, and threw down a spectacular 360 windmill dunk in the fourth quarter.
Lance Stephenson added 22 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists for Indiana. Danny Granger chipped in 12 points and four rebounds.
Jamal Crawford led Los Angeles with 22 points, while Blake Griffin added 19 points and eight rebounds. DeAndre Jordan (12 points and 17 rebounds) recorded a double-double. Chris Paul missed the game with a separated shoulder.
- The Pacers swept the season series with the Clippers last season. Indiana has won three straight games over the Clippers and four of the last five meetings in Indianapolis.
- Clippers guard Chris Paul and Pacers forward David West were teammates for six seasons in New Orleans from 2005-11.
- West needs 21 points to reach 12,000 for his career.
- Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has played in 260 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA.
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 107.5/1070 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)
Good seats are still available to see the Pacers take on Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Clippers. Plus, pay zero fees for any tickets purchased online through December 31, courtesy of FOX Sports Indiana. Find Tickets »