Clippers visit, will provide Pacers’ next test
The Indiana Pacers are still attempting to get a gauge on just how good they are.
While no doubt a contender in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers will test their mettle against one of the West’s best as the Los Angeles Clippers pay a visit to Indianapolis on Monday.
For starters, the Pacers have won eight of their last 10 games overall and boast a 9-2 record at home entering the start of five of their next six contests at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“We’re a hard-working team that really hangs our hat on the defensive end,” guard Jeremy Lamb said, per the Indianapolis Star. “We really move the ball on offense. More games than not, we’ve had 25-plus assists. That’s what we try to focus on. On the defensive end, we’ve got perimeter defenders, shot blockers, we got size.”
Fellow guard Malcolm Brogdon noted that the Pacers tend to play up or down to the competition, underscored after they barely escaped with a victory at New York to conclude a five-game road trip on Saturday.
“Everybody hasn’t hit their stride yet. We’re getting there,” said Brogdon, who sat out the 104-103 victory over the Knicks with a sore right hand.
T.J. Warren scored 25 points and Domantas Sabonis added 19 and 15 rebounds to send Indiana home with a victory.
“When I get to my spots, I can be aggressive and productive, kind of make plays just scoring the ball and being myself,” Warren said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me early and getting me going.”
The Pacers have won five of their last six meetings with the Clippers, who rebounded from a lopsided loss to Milwaukee on Friday with a 135-119 victory over Washington two nights later.
Kawhi Leonard collected 34 points and 11 rebounds against the Wizards for his first double-double in nine games.
“We played terrible last game,” Leonard said, referring to the 119-91 loss to the Bucks. “So we tried to slow it down. Get in our offense. … We have to keep being consistent and do it against competitive teams.”
Former Pacer Paul George chipped in 27 points as the Clippers improved to 4-6 away from home and 1-1 on their current six-game road trip.
With Los Angeles set to play on back-to-back nights, coach Doc Rivers told The Athletic that Leonard or George could be rested against Indiana, with another three-game stretch in four nights beginning on Wednesday.
Montrezl Harrell has stepped up his play thus far this month, averaging 20.0 points in December after hitting that number on the nose against the Wizards.
Harrell scored nine points in the fourth quarter for the Clippers, who turned a four-point lead into a runaway victory following a 22-10 run over the final 6:30 of the fourth quarter.
“We ran stuff today. If it’s not Paul, it’s Kawhi. If it’s not Kawhi, it’s Lou (Williams). If it’s not Lou, it’s (Harrell),” Rivers said. “And everyone else is making shots through space.”
–Field Level Media