Though it has not been entirely easy, the Indiana Pacers are making the most of a favorable stretch in their schedule.
The visiting Pacers look to match a season high with a fourth straight victory while trying to continue their recent dominance over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, as the teams meet for the second time in four days Wednesday night.
Indiana (20-12) has managed to turn things around after suffering through a season-high five-game losing streak. The Pacers snapped that skid with a 93-88 win over New Jersey, then rolled to a 108-73 victory at home over Charlotte on Sunday. Things were a little tougher during Tuesday's 117-108 overtime home win over New Orleans.
For the second straight game, Indiana shot 50.0 percent from the field but needed to outscore the Hornets 17-8 in the extra period to earn the victory.
"We were able to exist and hang on," said All-Star center Roy Hibbert, who had a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds.
The Pacers have a good chance to continue their run of success while trying for a ninth consecutive victory over the Bobcats (4-27), who have lost 17 of 18 and own the worst record in the NBA. Indiana led 24-12 after one quarter and held Charlotte to 37.3 percent shooting for the game during Sunday's victory. The Pacers also scored 30 points off 19 turnovers.
Charlotte's 73 points were the fewest allowed by Indiana since an 86-73 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 25, 2010.
"We came out ready to play and stuck with our game plan the whole game, for 48 minutes,'' said Pacers forward David West, who had 14 points in that contest. "We knew that they were capable, so when we jumped on them, we wanted to stay on them.''
Hibbert, who finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds Sunday, has averaged 17.7 and 11.3 boards in his last six games against the Bobcats.
Charlotte, which has lost by an average margin of 12.5 points during its eight-game skid to Indiana, has had some down time to move on from Sunday's defeat that came two days after it snapped a 16-game skid with a 98-91 win at Toronto.
"We just have to put this behind us and continue to grow," coach Paul Silas said. "Anytime a team wins the way they did, they'll think that they can come back and do the same thing. So hopefully we will come with more effort and energy. We must because we can't continue to play like this."
Derrick Brown had 16 points and rookie Kemba Walker added 15 on Sunday for the Bobcats, who average an NBA-low 86.5 points.
Despite Charlotte's struggles this season, Walker continues to progress while averaging 17.1 points and 4.4 assists in the last eight games.
Two of Charlotte's four victories have come at home, where they have lost six straight since a 112-100 win over Golden State on Jan. 14. The Bobcats last victory over Indiana came in Charlotte, 104-88 on Nov. 22, 2009.