Vogel believes Pacers could be on verge of a turnaround
Although Indiana has dropped six of seven and is a loss away from falling to .500 for the first time since it was 4-4 on Nov. 9, coach Frank Vogel believes his team is on the verge of a turnaround.
The Pacers showed improvement defensively Tuesday after allowing their previous six opponents to average 112.3 points and Paul George has returned to form.
"We know we're close, we know we've done some good things. We're not getting blown out every night," Vogel said. "We haven't won nearly enough for our liking, but we feel like we're doing the right things to start to put us in position to start winning games again."
George has combined for 65 points in the last two games, and perhaps the best aspect of his recent play is he's averaging 1.8 turnovers in his last four contests after averaging 4.3 in his previous seven.
However, the three-time All-Star had one his worst performances of the season against the Hawks, scoring nine on 3-of-14 shooting. Monta Ellis, who was 3 of 13 for six points Tuesday, picked up the slack with a game-high 26 points.
While George's scoring prowess is to be expected, the Pacers are also getting offense from an unlikely source.
Myles Turner is averaging 19.6 points on 64.6 percent shooting along with 2.8 blocks in the last five games. He scored 16 points in 18 minutes Tuesday, and Vogel said he plans to increase the 6-foot-11 rookie's workload.
"We don't want to overreact to a couple of games, but obviously, we've liked what we've seen," Vogel said. "And we'll find the right time to get him in the starting lineup if he continues to play at the level he's been playing at."
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For the Hawks, Kyle Korver is starting to regain his touch after being deadly from long range a year ago.
Korver put Atlanta ahead of the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers by one with a 3-pointer with 24.6 seconds to go Wednesday, but the Hawks (27-20) couldn't close it out, falling 85-83 for their third loss in four games.
Korver made all four of his 3-point attempts -- only the fourth time this season he's hit at least four 3s after having 27 such games last season -- and is 10 of 15 from beyond the arc in the last three contests.
"When he's flying down the court, rising up and making them and hits the big shot contested late, it's great," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "It's a big part of us, and when he starts making those shots I think other things will start happening for us offensively."
Despite heating up, Korver is still shooting 38.2 percent from deep -- a far cry from leading the league at 49.2 percent last season. He has been brutal in the second game of Atlanta's last three back-to-backs, going 3 of 24 from beyond the arc while averaging 4.7 points.
With one day of rest prior to Atlanta's only meeting of the season with Indiana on Dec. 28, he missed all eight 3-point attempts and finished with two points in a 93-87 loss.
The Hawks turned the ball over a then-season-high 22 times in that one -- exceeded only by their 23 giveaways Wednesday.
The Pacers (23-22) have generally been tough to score on from 3-point range but allowed the Clippers to go 15 of 37 from long distance in Monday's 91-89 loss.