There will be a lot of attention on the Indiana Pacers when they take the court Wednesday in Atlanta against the Hawks, considering the epic late-game meltdown sustained in Monday’s wild loss to Boston. After trailing by 18 in the first quarter, the Pacers battled back to take a five-point lead with 31.3 seconds remaining, only to be outscored 10-4 in a 112-111 loss against the top team in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s a tough loss,” Indiana guard Victor Oladipo told reporters after his team fell for the third time in four games. “We dug ourselves the deepest hole you can imagine and again, fought our way back like clockwork, but we come up short again.” Atlanta - owners of the worst record in the NBA - won for just the seventh time this season by beating Miami 110-104 on Monday. Hawks forward Taurean Prince led the way with 24 points and is shooting 49.5 percent from the field in December. “We’re wanting him to shoot a lot,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer told the media afterward. “Catch and shoot, shoot whenever he’s got daylight, driving and finishing.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Indiana, FSN Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE PACERS (17-14): Oladipo scored 12 of his 38 points Monday in the final two minutes, and is 10th in the NBA in scoring at 24.9 per game. The Pacers are seventh in the NBA in scoring at 108.3 points per game. Point guard Darren Collison continues to recover from a knee ailment that sidelined him for a game Dec. 10, averaging 13.3 points in his past four games.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (7-23): Prince is averaging 14.7 points in nine games this month, raising his season mark to 13.2 per contest. Point guard Dennis Schroder snapped a 14-for-40 shooting slump by hitting 10-of-19 attempts Monday in scoring 23 points. Atlanta ranks fifth in the league in steals (8.7 per game) and sixth in assists (23.6 per game) entering Tuesday.
1. Oladipo has scored 20 or more points in 22 of his 30 games played this season.
2. Pacers C Myles Turner did not block a shot Monday for the first time since Nov. 1, but still leads the NBA at 2.3 per game.
3. Atlanta signed F Tyler Cavanaugh, who is averaging 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds, to a multi-year contract before Monday’s game.
PREDICTION: Pacers 113, Hawks 102