The Indiana Pacers haven’t seen much go their way, but they’re hoping to build on a promising performance.
Indiana would appear to have good chance to do just that Saturday night against the visiting Sacramento Kings, who are mired in their longest losing streak in four seasons.
Sitting at the bottom of the Central Division, the Pacers (17-31) rank among the NBA’s lowest scoring teams with 95.0 points per game. Indiana, however, is giving up an average of 96.9 to rank among the league leaders.
Coach Frank Vogel’s team was clicking on both ends of the floor in Thursday’s 103-82 win over New York. Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points for the second consecutive game and Roy Hibbert added 18 as the Pacers shot a season-high 53.2 percent.
"It’s been a long time since we’ve had a win like that," backup center Ian Mahinmi said. "It’s good to see that tonight the ball movement was good, the shooters made some shots, and the guys that were looking for a rhythm got their rhythm. This is a very good win and hopefully it gets us a little momentum."
Indiana held a 49-33 rebounding edge and outscored the Knicks 50-26 in the paint. The Pacers, who had dropped their previous three home games, improved to 2-8 over their last 10 overall.
"It’s rewarding, because the guys have been working really, really hard all season, and we haven’t really gotten a big payoff," Vogel said. "It was good to have a little fun. … We all really believe in momentum. It’s tough to stop when you’re struggling and obviously when you get going, hopefully you can string together a couple wins and sustain it."
The Kings (16-29) are looking for anything positive after dropping eight in a row for the first time since 2010-11, including their last three by an average of 17.6 points. Sacramento hasn’t lost nine straight since March 31-April 13, 2009.
The Kings’ woes continued in Friday’s 101-90 loss at Cleveland, their 11th in 12 games away from home. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 21 points, 13 rebounds and a season-high five steals, but he shot 5 of 17 as the Kings were held to 35.7 percent from the floor – their worst mark on the road this season.
"I think a lot of guys are lost right now," said Cousins, who earlier in the day became Sacramento’s first All-Star selection since Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic in 2004. "We need to find our roles. With the whole pace thing, things are kind of wacko."
Cousins is averaging 26.1 points at home compared to 21.8 on the road. He missed this season’s first matchup against Indiana with a viral infection, but the Kings won 102-101 in overtime Dec. 5 as Carl Landry banked in the winning basket from three feet out.
Rudy Gay scored 27 points while Darren Collison added 20 against his former team.
The Kings have played a combined four OTs in their last five matchups against the Pacers, who had won the previous four meetings. Indiana has taken four of five in the series at home.
Sacramento has been outscored by an average of 15.4 points in losing all five road games against the Eastern Conference.