(Sports Network) - The Indiana Pacers are playing great basketball right now
and will try to keep it up Saturday night when they visit the Phoenix Suns at
US Airways Center.
The Pacers have won three straight and six out of their last seven. The lone
setback was a road loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 23. Indy leads Chicago
by 5 1/2 games for the Central Division crown and is even with the New York
Knicks for the second spot in the East.
Saturday's game is the third of a four-game road trip where the Pacers are
undefeated thus far. They toppled the Houston Rockets 100-91 on Wednesday,
then thumped the Dallas Mavericks 103-78 on Thursday.
"I was very, very pleased with the win," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "In
particular, our defensive effort seemingly keeps getting better and better.
I'm very impressed with how dialed in our guys are, and how disciplined
they're playing on the defensive end. We moved the ball pretty well in the
second half, better than the first half offensively."
David West returned after missing six games with a back injury and only
managed seven points in 28 minutes. Paul George netted 24 points, while Roy
Hibbert registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pacers announced before Thursday's game that former All-Star forward Danny
Granger would miss the remainder of the season after knee surgery. Granger
only played five games this season.
Indiana will finish its road trip against the L.A. Clippers on Monday.
The Suns have been struggling badly of late, losing five straight and nine of
10. Phoenix is only 3-11 in the month of March and lottery-bound.
The Suns most recent setback came on Thursday against fellow Pacific Division
cellar-dwellers, the Sacramento Kings. The Kings were 14 ahead at the half and
won by that amount, 117-103.
"I thought our effort was there tonight," said interim coach Lindsey Hunter.
"I think our execution wasn't. I think guys had mental lapses at times on
different coverages and it resulted in them scoring especially at certain,
crucial times when we had the game manageable to get a little closer."
Luis Scola led the way with 25 points, followed by P.J. Tucker, who had 18.
Wesley Johnson and Michael Beasley both had 14 points.
Rookie guard Kendall Marshall had nine points and 10 assists. It was his
second straight game with double-digit assists.
The Suns have taken four of the last five against the Pacers and Indiana is
1-6 in its last seven in Phoenix.
The Sports Network