If there were any significant weaknesses for the Indiana Pacers, their lack of road success might be the biggest one. Yet Indiana finds itself playing the Los Angeles Clippers in Staples Center with the opportunity to return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse coming off a four-game road swing.
The Pacers enter the game on Monday on a four-game winning streak and coming off a 112-104 victory against the Phoenix Suns. And they'll be facing a reeling Clippers squad that has lost three of four, the most recent loss coming at the hands of the Houston Rockets sans James Harden.
Los Angeles is looking, simply, for a sense of urgency.
Blake Griffin and company are facing criticism for a month of March that saw them go 7-7, but Chris Paul told the Los Angeles Times that there's still time to turn it around.
"To be really good in this league, individually and team-wise, it takes a lot of concentration," guard Chris Paul said. "It's an 82-game season. It's a long season. And at times, it almost seems like we got bored with the process. Usually when teams are winning they get bored. We've got to get back to the drawing board."
With the Pacific Division title in their sights, Los Angeles is clinging to the fourth seed only because they haven't been challenged by the Lakers and Warriors. They have a seven-game lead on Golden State with eight games remaining on the schedule but are a half-game behind the No. 5 seeded Memphis Grizzlies as far as records are concerned.
Indiana, meanwhile, is chasing the Eastern Conference's No. 2 slot.
They are tied with the New York Knicks at 11.5 games back of the NBA's best team, the Miami Heat. And with a win in Los Angeles, the Pacers will have worked their way back to a .500 record on the road.
Matchup to watch
Paul George is exactly the type of versatile wing player that the Clippers are capable of defending well, but that doesn't mean it'll be easy. The third-year pro is coming off a 25-point game against Phoenix where he only took 14 shots. But all of those shots were timely.
The Clippers will likely counter with Grant Hill and Matt Barnes if he's available following an ankle sprain against the Rockets.
If there's a reason to doubt them, however, Los Angeles' defense has been a major question mark of late, and it's an example of the lack of focus for the Vinny Del Negro's team. Despite being a top-10 defense for the year, the Clippers were 21st in the NBA at 106.2 points allowed per 100 possessions in the March, according to NBA.com's Stats tool.
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Odds: The Clippers opened as four-point favorites.
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