Preview: Warriors at Pacers
The Indiana Pacers’ first game without star guard Victor Oladipo didn’t go so well, and the path forward isn’t getting any easier. The Pacers will try to move to 1-1 since Oladipo’s season-ending knee injury when they host the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Monday.
Indiana somehow regrouped after watching Oladipo’s gruesome injury in Wednesday’s 110-106 home win over the Toronto Raptors but could not find a way forward on Saturday at Memphis, when they suffered a 106-103 loss two days after learning he was diagnosed with a ruptured quad tendon. “We’re just trying as a team to find ourselves without Victor Oladipo,” Pacers forward Thaddeus Young told reporters. “That’s one of the biggest things. Our offense was a little stagnant as opposed to having Victor out there. That’s no excuse.” The Warriors picked up their 10th consecutive win with a 115-111 triumph at Boston on Saturday but still believe they can be better. “It hasn’t been perfect, and we know we can still be better,” All-Star guard Steph Curry told reporters. “We’ve talked about putting a run together for a while now, and we’re right in the middle of a really good one. You want to create good vibes, especially with the All-Star break coming up, and continue to build momentum the second half of the season.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State), FS Indiana
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (35-14): Golden State is back on its familiar perch atop the Western Conference as its offense rounds into shape. The Warriors have five current or former All-Stars in the starting lineup with center DeMarcus Cousins joining the team and are quickly getting used to playing together. “Probably the best thing we’re doing now is taking care of the ball,” Curry told reporters. “Playmakers are making the right decisions more times than not, getting shots up — that’s obviously when the talent takes over. Our defense has been better. People are settling into rotations with DeMarcus, and we got an edge about us.”
ABOUT THE PACERS (32-16): Indiana went 7-4 with Oladipo out of the lineup with a knee injury in November and December but is in a much different position with the star gone for the rest of the season and needs players like Tyreke Evans and Aaron Holiday to step up. Evans started in Oladipo’s spot on Saturday and managed nine points in 24 minutes while Holiday came off the bench and scored seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. Small forward Bojan Bogdanovic led the team with 21 points against the Grizzlies but went 1-of-6 from 3-point range and fouled out.
1. Curry went 6-of-12 from 3-point range on Saturday after slumping to 7-to-29 over the previous three contests.
2. Pacers C Myles Turner blocked multiple shots in each of the last six games and leads the NBA at an average of 2.79.
3. Indiana took both meetings last season by a total of 31 points.