Red-hot Pacers welcome Thunder to Bankers Life Fieldhouse
INDIANAPOLIS — The Oklahoma City Thunder will make their one and only visit of the season to Indianapolis on Monday night to take on the red-hot Indiana Pacers. The Pacers (28-22) have won a season-high six straight games. They also come in with a 19-6 record at home, one of the best home records in the league. While Indiana is enjoying their win streak, things get a lot tougher over the next few weeks. After playing the Thunder, they’ll take on the Cavs and Wizards twice each, and they’ll also play the Spurs in that stretch.
These teams squared off earlier this season in Oklahoma, with the Pacers putting together one of their best games of the season, defeating the Thunder 115-111 in overtime. Especially at that point in the season, it was a rare road win for Indiana. The Pacers will try and sweep the season series over the Thunder, which is something they haven’t been able to do since the 2008-2009 season.
Paul George and Russell Westbrook will both be All-Star reserves later this month. George has come on strong lately (26 PPG over his last seven), while Westbrook is averaging a triple-double this season.
“I think we’re starting to build our mental strength,” George told the Indianapolis Star. “It’s good that our mind is there and ready to attack those back-to-backs.”
The Pacers were 1-7 on the second night of a back-to-back in their first eight attempts, but have now won their last two such games.
Indiana is hoping to get their starting power forward back on Monday night, but Thaddeus Young is listed as questionable.
“There’s a lot of swelling, but it didn’t show any type of swelling,” coach Nate McMillan said about the X-rays and MRI results.
Young missed the game against Detroit on Saturday and is day-to-day. Rodney Stuckey is also listed as questionable with a sore ankle. For the Thunder, Alex Abrines is questionable (back spasms), though he was available on Sunday, and Enes Kanter remains out (fractured right arm).
Oklahoma City (30-22) has won two straight games, including a 105-99 win over Portland on Sunday afternoon. Westbrook led the way with 42 points, but didn’t have to do it alone. Victor Oladipo had 24 points and 13 rebounds.
“It was a great collective team win,” Oladipo said. “We just got to build on it.”
“It was a huge tone that we came to play,” said Westbrook. “It shows that we are fighting. We want to be the team that hits first. Regardless of how many misses, but we played hard all game.”
The Thunder have had more success against the Western Conference this season. They are just 11-9 against the East so far.
Coming into Sunday, both teams were averaging 105.8 points per game.
The Pacers have won three of their last four meetings over Oklahoma City at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.