The sudden downward trend is marching on for the Pacers, and now is no time for that.
Granted, the Pacers were shorthanded in Monday’s 109-94 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs — as the Pacers were without two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis (sore lower back), defensive player of the year candidate Myles Turner (right foot) and T.J. Warren, out for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot.
And in case that weren’t enough, Sabonis’ replacement, Goga Bitadze, didn’t finish the game, suffering a sprained ankle of his own.
“It’s a challenge,” Pacers coach Nate Bjorkgren told reporters. “Goga we wound up playing him a lot more but he sprained his ankle in the first and you could see he was having a hard time getting up and down the floor. So I had to take him out.”
As it stands, the Pacers (26-31) are really struggling, having lost five of their previous six home games, and falling to 9-17 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Now, the playoff play-in game is now in jeopardy.
“It’s the NBA,” LeVert said about the Pacers being shorthanded. “It’s a next-man-up mentality. I feel like Oshae Brissett and Goga did a great job, JaKarr Sampson as well when he was in there. That’s just how it is right now. The season is condensed, there’s little knick-knack injuries everywhere, but every team’s going through it.
“We don’t want to make that an excuse. We’ve got to play better as a team.”
The Pacers face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. Tipoff is 7 p.m. EST.