Pacers return home, hope to contain Pelican’s Anthony Davis
INDIANAPOLIS — After a trip to London to play the Denver Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers return home on Monday to square off against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pacers (20-19) had won five straight games before their abysmal defensive effort in London, as they gave up 140 points in the loss to Denver.
“We didn’t show up,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said after the game. “I don’t have a reason for that. Just total domination by Denver.”
Glenn Robinson III added: “We didn’t bring it defensively. We didn’t play the same way that we’ve been playing.”
Rest is rarely a bad thing in the NBA, but it might have come at a bad time for Indiana, disrupting their win streak. They’ll look to get back to their winning ways Monday, in a building that has seen plenty of winning this season.
For whatever reason, the Pacers have been unable to play well away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They are 15-5 at home this season, and just 5-14 away from Indianapolis.
These two teams matched up earlier this season, with the Pelicans defeating the Pacers 102-95 in New Orleans. The Pacers led 90-87 with 4:28 to play, but the Pelicans finished the game on a big run. Anthony Davis had a huge night with 35 points and 16 rebounds. The Pelicans were able to hold the Pacers to 3-of-21 from behind the arc.
Solomon Hill will be playing his first game back in Indianapolis as a member of the opposition. He was drafted by the Pacers and spent his first three seasons with them.
The Pelicans (16-25) have played a lot better of late, winning six of their last 10 games. They dropped their last game, however, to the Chicago Bulls by a final of 107-99. Their trip to Indiana will wrap up their longest road trip (five games) of the season. With a win, they would have a winning road trip.
After missing Thursday’s game, Anthony Davis returned to action against Chicago with another monster night despite the loss. He scored 36 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter.
“It was fine,” Davis told NBA.com, referring to his injured hip. “It didn’t really affect me out there.”
Rebounding was the main story of the loss to the Bulls. “We just need to stop star-gazing,” Davis said. “When the ball goes up, we just kind of stare at it instead of finding a body and going to get the rebound.”
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry agrees: “You can’t give up 21 offensive rebounds and expect to win the game. You can’t do that.”
With Anthony Davis and Myles Turner both in the building, expect a lot of blocked shots. The Pelicans are second in the NBA in blocks (5.9 per game), while the Pacers are seventh (5.5 per game).
Rodney Stuckey is still out (hamstring) for Indiana, while Quincy Pondexter is out (left knee) for New Orleans.
The Pelicans have not won in Indiana since 2010.