Wed, 12 Dec 2018
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Denver

Pacers look to fly past Hawks

Sports Xchange
17 Nov 2018, 13:38 GMT+10

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo saw his string of scoring 20 points in a row end at 13 Friday night.

The good news for the Pacers (9-6) heading into Saturday night's game with Atlanta (3-12) is Indiana won with Oladipo scoring just eight points with 3-of-12 shooting.

The bench was key as the Pacers rallied from a 12-point deficit after the first quarter to win 99-91 over the Miami Heat.

"We came out with a lot of energy," Pacers reserve guard Cory Joseph told Fox Sports Indiana. "We were making shots and making the right plays. It started with our defense."

The bench, which contributed 53 points, had three double-digit scorers, led by Tyreke Evans with a season-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers. Evans had scored in single digits in three consecutive games. Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis added 15 points and Joseph 12 points. Joseph also had five assists and three steals.

"He was being aggressive as he needed to be, found the rhythm and was able to knock em down," Joseph said.

Indiana coach Nate McMillan said he told Evans to go out and play.

"Really what I wanted him to do was relax and not think too much," McMillan said. "I want him to be aggressive with the pick and roll and in transition."

The Pacers had four days off, following Sunday night's loss at Houston.

"It definitely helped us," Joseph said. "It's a long season. So whenever you have time to rest and recover it definitely helps us."

McMillan said Oladipo got his teammates involved when his shot wasn't falling.

"He had looks that he usually knocks down," McMillan said. "There are going to be nights that don't go your way but he stayed positive. He knocked down a big shot in the fourth quarter that was a timely for us. He's got to keep his head into the game and I thought he didn't that."

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins is expected to make his season debut against the Pacers. Collins, who has been out since suffering left ankle soreness in the preseason, averaged 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds last season.

The Hawks are in need of good news with losses in 10 of their last 11 games, including six in a row.

Atlanta suffered an embarrassing 138-93 loss at Denver Thursday.

"It wasn't the altitude, it was the lack of effort," Hawks first-year coach Lloyd Pierce said. "This one stung. You'll see Golden State had a game like this (Thursday night). Everyone does. It's frustrating when you have to speak to effort. This one wasn't any fun. There are no excuses. We're missing bodies. This is about us coming together a little bit better than we did. We'll regroup and get a well-needed day off and try to stay together as a team on that day off and worry about Indiana on Saturday."

Pierce said the team must put forth the effort right from the jump.

"We got off to slow start," Pierce said. "Myself included, we have to come out with a little more urgency. We battled back in the first and got it down to about 11. We had opportunities but we let it get away from us."

Hawks power forward Omari Spellman said the lack of effort was disappointing.

"Collectively we know that lack of competing, that lack of wanting it is never going to get it done, especially not filled in a league filled with the best players in the world," Spellman said. "Collectively, we have to look ourselves in the mirror and be ready to bring it the next day. Put this one behind us, but at the same time remember what this felt like and making sure it doesn't happen again."

Spellman said the Hawks have to stop the rough starts. Denver scored the first 13 points and led 73-57 by halftime.

"We have to stop waiting until we get punched in the mouth to compete," Spellman said. "Then compete for 48 minutes. The main beauties of being in the NBA is you can lay an egg like we did and then come back out two days later. We look forward to the opportunity to prove not only to the coaching staff but ourselves that we are much better than what we showed (Thursday night)."

Atlanta small forward Taurean Prince is listed as doubtful and expected to miss his second consecutive game due to right Achilles pain.

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