(SportsNetwork.com) – The Indiana Pacers are one of the last five teams in
scoring this season and look to catch a break when they host the Utah Jazz
Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The last five teams are rather surprising with Oklahoma City, New York and
Detroit all tied at the bottom with 92.0 points per game. Indiana is next with
only 92.4 ppg and defending champion San Antonio is averaging 92.8.
Indiana has been plagued by injuries this season, which is one reason why the
starting lineup is unrecognizable. Chris Copeland, Luis Scola, Ian Mahinmi,
Solomon Hill and Donald Sloan have seen plenty of minutes with Paul George,
David West, George Hill and Rodney Stuckey nursing injuries.
Roy Hibbert (knee) and C.J. Miles (headaches) are questionable Monday for the
Pacers, who have lost six in a row after winning their season opener. The
Pacers dropped a 97-90 decision to Washington on Saturday, as Hill recorded 28
points and Copeland added 14. Sloan scored 13 points and Indiana made 42.9
percent of its shots.
“I found a rhythm and they kept giving me the ball,” Hill said of scoring a
career high in points. “I just tried to make the most of it.”
The Pacers turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 22 Wizards points, and
have failed to reach 100 points during this slide. They had won 12 straight at
home versus the Wizards.
Rebounding hasn’t been a problem for Indiana and the team is fourth in the NBA
with 46.3 boards per game. The Pacers have outrebounded six of the first seven
opponents by an average of 5.2 rpg.
Indiana is 1-6 for the first time since 1993-94, when it finished 47-35. The
worst start to a season for the Pacers was a nine-game losing streak and a
1-11 opening to the 1988-89 campaign. The Pacers last loss seven in a row
during an eight-game drought from Dec. 18-30 in 2009-10.
The Pacers will visit Miami on Wednesday in a matchup that has lost some of
its luster with a ravaged Indiana team and LeBron James in Cleveland.
Utah began a five-game road trip with Sunday’s 97-96 win at Detroit and was
led by Gordon Hayward, who scored 11 of his team-best 17 points in the fourth
quarter. Derrick Favors posted 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Jazz,
who have alternated wins and losses over the past six games.
“I’m proud that we battled throughout the game,” said Hayward. “It was big win
on the road as far as I’m concerned.”
Enes Kanter and Alec Burks scored 14 points apiece and the Jazz rebounded from
a lopsided 105-82 setback versus Dallas on Friday. Trey Burke, who starred at
Michigan, finished with seven points. Rookie Dante Exum scored nine points.
The Jazz will also visit Atlanta, New York and Toronto, and lost both meetings
with Indiana last season. The Pacers have won four of the previous five games
in this series and are unbeaten in the last three at home.
Indiana and Utah will meet again on Jan. 5 in Salt Lake City and the overall
series between the teams is tied at 39-39.