The Indiana Pacers aim to avert an actual losing streak on Friday when they face a team that just snapped a six-game skid with a last-second shot.
The Pacers, who have yet to lose more than two successive games this season, will host the Orlando Magic in Indianapolis after dropping consecutive games to the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks.
Both of Indiana's recent losses came recorded without the services of NBA shot-blocking leader Myles Turner, who is considered day-to-day with a hand injury sustained last week. Indiana was gouged on the interior on Wednesday, allowing 68 points in the paint en route to a 124-112 loss to Dallas. That followed a lopsided 129-96 loss in Los Angeles.
"Everybody has to step their energy up and play a bigger role defensively," Malcolm Brogdon said. "Because Myles is such a presence at the rim -- blocking shots, rebounding the ball -- just his presence in the game discourages people from driving to the rim. That's what we haven't had. Our help defense has to be even better."
Brogdon finished with 26 points and Domantas Sabonis added 25 with 10 rebounds against the Mavs. Sabonis' 14th consecutive double-double puts him five shy of Hall of Famer Mel Daniels' overall franchise record set in the ABA from Dec. 2, 1968 to Jan. 8, 1969.
Sabonis averaged 23.0 points and 12.5 rebounds in two games against Orlando last season.
Jeremy Lamb scored 10 points in 19 minutes on Wednesday in his first game since sustaining a torn ACL in Toronto on Feb. 23.
"It's been a long process. I had a lot going through my head. I was nervous, anxious, just wanted to help the team," Lamb said. "Just a lot of different emotions, but I was really excited."
The Magic ran the gamut of emotions on Wednesday as the team rallied from a 20-point deficit and rookie Cole Anthony drained a 3-pointer as time expired for a 97-96 road win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Anthony's shot set off a wild celebration for Orlando, which recorded its first win since Jan. 6.
"For us as a team, that was much-needed after six straight losses," Nikola Vucevic said after his 28-point performance. "That was a much-needed win. Obviously, I think people could tell by our celebration that we really needed that. It was great. Hopefully we can build on it."
Vucevic, who leads the team in scoring (23.3) and rebounds (10.8), averaged 21.0 and 13.5 last season against the Pacers.
Evan Fournier scored 24 points on Wednesday in his return to the lineup following a nine-game absence due to lower back spasms.
"I'm happy, obviously, especially with the fact that it's Cole that won the game for us. That's going to boost his confidence," Fournier said. "I'm happy for him. The kid's a worker. So it's good to be back and actually get a win like that. It's special."
--Field Level Media