Suns return home to host slumping Pacers
Indiana has lost three in a row since defeating the Suns 116-97 last Tuesday in Indianapolis.
The Suns haven’t fared any better — losing both their games since falling to the Pacers and stretching their current losing streak to four.
One of the losing streaks will come to an end when the teams meet for the second time in eight days on Tuesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports GO, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Indiana (22-19) has given up 116.7 points per game during its losing streak — a dramatic reversal after allowing only 93.9 points per game in its previous 16. The Pacers gave up 45 in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 129-126 loss at Denver — the first game in a four-game road trip. They’ve also been beaten up on the boards, getting outrebounded 96-68 in their two most recent games.
Injuries have played a part. Paul George is playing through a calf injury, Ian Mahinmi is day-to-day with a sore heel, Rodney Stuckey is out with a foot injury and George Hill didn’t travel to Denver due to personal reasons. Hill could be back in the lineup against the Suns.
"When this team decides to start defending again, then we will start winning again," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "Our defense was an embarrassment. We have to toughen up, we have to start hitting people on the glass, we have to be first to the rebound and we have to stop giving teams second-chance shots."
The Suns are scoring just 96.8 points per game over the past month, a stretch in which they’ve gone 1-13.
The Suns shot just 40.4 percent but outworked Indiana 45-41 on the glass — including 16 offensive boards — in last week’s loss.
The Pacers shot 51.9 percent and 10 for 24 from 3-point range against Phoenix, which allows the NBA’s highest field-goal percentage (47.6).
"These guys can’t call themselves basketball players until you go out there and you try to stop somebody and get in front of somebody and take a charge or do something," coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Brandon Knight, who did not play in last week’s contest due to a bout with food poisoning, finished with 20 points and Morris scored 17 on Sunday when Phoenix ended a three-game road trip with a 117-87 loss at Minnesota.
The Suns had won four in a row over Indiana and 15 of the previous 19 meetings before last week’s defeat. They’ve won the past two at home by a combined 41 points.
The Suns’ Alex Len could return after missing three games with a sprained hand.