Pacers can get some payback tonight at Phoenix

Myles Turner and the Pacers lost by 20 points to the Suns last month in Indy.
Trevor Ruszkowski/Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Spor

After dealing with three of the West's elite teams, the Indiana Pacers finally get a look at the other end of the rival conference's spectrum when a five-game Western swing continues with a visit to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

The Pacers are coming off a humiliating 142-106 drubbing at the hands of the Golden State Warriors on Monday night in Oakland. Klay Thompson scorched the visitors for 60 points.

The sound defeat was the second in three games for the Pacers on their Western excursion. They were waxed 131-109 at Portland last Wednesday before rebounding to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 111-102 on Sunday.

Indiana (10-11) will be motivated not only by the drubbing by the Warriors, but also a 116-96 defeat handed them by the Suns when the clubs met Nov. 18 in Indianapolis.

The Suns' bench dominated that game, with reserves Brandon Knight (17), Jared Dudley (16), Alan Williams (15), Leandro Barbosa (13) and Tyler Ulis (10) all scoring in double figures.

Phoenix's backups outscored their Indiana counterparts 78-35 that night, taking advantage of a Pacers club that elected to promote its most productive reserve, C.J. Miles, to the starting lineup to replace injured Paul George.

“We went through the motions,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said after the game. “It was bad out there.”

Indiana responded from that loss with one of its most impressive wins of the season, a 115-111 overtime victory at Oklahoma City.

The Pacers are 7-3 following a defeat this season.

The schedule could help the visitors improve upon that stat Wednesday night. While the Pacers were resting in their hotel Tuesday, the Suns were losing 112-105 to the Jazz in Utah.

Coincidentally, the Suns (6-15) also were coming off a shellacking against the Warriors, 138-109. They responded with a competitive effort Tuesday, rallying from a 20-point halftime deficit into a 103-all tie late in the game before getting outfinished 9-2 by the Jazz.

Afterward, Phoenix coach Earl Watson again applauded the effort of his reserve crew.

“That (second) unit came in and played selfless,” Watson said of a bench that included Knight (15 points), Barbosa (13) and backup center Alex Len (14). “They gave up all their energy on defense, and offensively they moved the ball, created the tempo and played amazing perimeter defense.”

Because of the balanced attack, no Sun played more than 28 minutes on the first night of the back-to-back.

Phoenix is 1-3 in the second game of consecutive-night scheduling this season, the most recent being a 120-105 loss at Philadelphia the night after they won at Indiana.

The game matches one of the league's best shooting teams (Indiana, 45.5 percent from the field) against one of the league's worst defensive clubs (Phoenix, 46.4 percent allowed).

The Suns faced a similarly efficient Utah squad that converted 49.3 percent of its shots and 44.4 percent of its 3-pointers on Tuesday.

The day off no doubt benefited the Pacers, who have seen three key players — George, Miles and Myles Turner — return from injuries during this trip.

They were all on deck for the Sunday win over the Clippers, contributing 40 points to the victory.