After a rough two-game trip, the Indiana Pacers are glad to be coming home. None of them more so than Paul George.
The forward looks to shake off his worst performance of the season as the Pacers try to continue their recent home success Wednesday night against the Sacramento Kings.
Indiana (16-11) quickly lost the momentum gained from a perfect three-game homestand Dec. 14-18 by suffering frustrating losses in Memphis and San Antonio. The most recent was particularly maddening for George, who scored seven points and shot 1 of 14 in Monday’s 106-92 defeat to the Spurs. His point total was the lowest of his career with that many shot attempts.
"Lot of it was me," George said. "I had a lot of good looks, lot of open looks, lot of shots I’ve made all season long. Just wasn’t my night, couldn’t get it to fall."
George also committed seven turnovers in a matchup with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, giving him 20 in three games.
"Most of his turnovers are bad passes, but he is trying to be a willing passer," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "He is trying to create but just not completing a lot of them. When a guy is trying to make the right play, you let him play through it and, hopefully, it resolves itself."
George wasn’t the only Indiana player who struggled on the trip. C.J. Miles, a 40 percent 3-point shooter on the season, was 1 of 10 from beyond the arc over the two games and 0 of 9 from the field in Saturday’s 96-84 loss to Memphis.
Monta Ellis has shot 33.3 percent while averaging 7.0 points over the last three.
Indiana has won 10 of 11 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and faces a Sacramento team that’s 3-10 on the road.
The Kings are 1-2 on a four-game trip. Playing for the third time in four days, they were outscored 29-15 by Washington in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 113-99 loss.
"I thought we did a hell of a job until the beginning of the fourth," coach George Karl said. "They went up eight on us and that fatigued us."
The Wizards shot 50.6 percent to end a string of improved defensive efforts from Sacramento, which ranks 28th in scoring defense at 107.1 points per game but held its previous four opponents to 96.8 points and 41.3 percent shooting.
Regaining that defensive efficiency could be vital to the Kings earning a third straight win over Indiana, which is 12-4 when recording 100 or more points.
Sacramento limited the Pacers to 39.2 percent in sweeping the 2014-15 season series, capped by a 99-94 victory in Indianapolis on Jan. 31 behind Rudy Gay’s 31 points and DeMarcus Cousins’ 20 and 19 rebounds.
Indiana played both games with George sidelined by a broken leg, though, and it’s won the last four meetings in which he’s played. He averaged 33.5 points in two Pacers victories over the Kings in 2013-14.
Cousins scored 22 points against Washington but was 8 of 22 from the field. The star center has shot 37.9 percent over a nine-game stretch.