Pacers still ‘fighting a lot of things’ after road gets rough

Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis tries to block a shot vs. the Hawks. -AP

Not all is well with the Indiana Pacers. Anymore, they’re not even winning on the road.

That may sound strange, but the Pacers had been absolute money away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse — until Friday. That’s when they blew a big lead against the Utah Jazz.

On Sunday, they couldn’t overcome a large deficit against former Indiana coach Nate McMillan and the Atlanta Hawks, dropping a 129-117 decision.

“We were fighting a lot of things,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren told reporters. “It just kind of felt like an uphill battle throughout. Their main guys hurt us.”

As it stands, the Pacers (26-30) are 1.5 games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the eight-best record in the Eastern Conference. They have won five of their last 10 overall, but fell to 17-14 on the road.

That’s not such a bad road record. It’s actually second-best in the East (behind Philadelphia). But when you’re just 9-16 at home, as the Pacers are … well, you’d better pick up some wins somewhere.

Bankers Life is precisely where the Pacers return, for a game Monday vs. the San Antonio Spurs. They will need to figure out how to turn the corner, then stay there. They always seem to be on the brink of doing just that, and then the inconsistency from moment to moment creeps back in.

“We’re going to be fighting our own energy, fighting our own readiness for the game,” Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said of the Spurs matchup. “We just have to be ready to play.”

Too often this season, that hasn’t seemed to be the case. Lately, it’s been worse — as the Pacers have been outscored by a combined 177-147 in the fourth quarter over the last six games.

Brogdon led the Pacers with 29 points. He for one is always very clearly “ready to play.” Domantas Sabonis and T.J. MConnell added 18 points apiece, with Sabonis also pulling down 14 rebounds.

But none of it was enough, as four Hawks scored at least 23 points — Trae Young (34), Clint Capela (25), Bogdan Bogdanovic (23) and Kevin Huerter (also 23).

As aside, the Pacers trailed 30-10 before eventually coming back late and tying things up at 105. They could match the soaring Hawks after that, though.

“At the end of the day we just couldn’t get enough stops,” McConnell said. “We couldn’t get that one stop to put us over the top. They got loose for a couple of 3s and made us pay.”

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of FortyEight Minutes. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for OutKick, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and

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