Streaking Pacers host red-hot Jazz
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers are 0-6 when star catalyst Victor Oladipo doesn't play.
However, the Pacers proved they can pull out a win to despite a rare poor outing by Oladipo, who scored 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting and a season-high 10 turnovers in a 92-89 victory over visiting Milwaukee on Monday night.
"It's always good to get a win when you don't play well," Oladipo said. "It just shows how good of a team we are, guys stepped up and played well."
The Pacers are 10 games above .500 for the first time this season heading into Wednesday night's home game with Utah.
"That's cool, there's a lot of basketball left and we have to keep getting better," Oladipo said of the Pacers' 37-27 record. "It's a big week here at home and we have to take care of home court then go back on the road and continue to get better."
After disappointing road losses at Atlanta and Dallas, the Pacers have won three in a row.
"We looked at each other and said we have to play Indiana Pacers basketball," point guard Cory Joseph said. "We have to share the ball, put pressure on teams on the defense end and we have to get out and run."
Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said team chemistry has been a huge factor.
"We just mesh well," Young said. "We love playing with each other, going out there and having fun as a team. When our backs are against the wall we just come together as a team. We think we're going to win each game either way down 15 or five points."
Indiana forward Bojan Bogdanovic said confidence is key.
"You always have to believe in yourself and your teammates," he said. "Most of the league didn't (believe), we showed up and I hope we're going to continue to play great."
Bogdanovic matched his season high with 29 points Monday night, hitting 5 of 7 3-pointers. Bogdanovic is averaging 19.5 points in the last 13 games.
This Is the first of three consecutive road games for Utah (34-30). The Jazz have won three in a row and are 15-2 in the last 17 games.
"We've been playing better on the road lately," Jazz guard Ricky Rubio said. "And we're just going to keep playing as a team, being aggressive. Being on the road is not easy, but we're learning. At the beginning of the year it was weakness and now maybe it's our strength."
Against Orlando, all starters scored in double figures, led by center Rudy Gobert's 21 points and 17 rebounds. Rookie Donovan Mitchell leads Utah with a 19.8 scoring average.
"Everybody's getting better," Rubio said. "Everybody is playing more comfortable with each other and if you look at this team, this is a real team. Everybody is playing for each other and moving the ball well."
The Jazz played Monday without forward Derrick Favors, who is sidelined with neck spasms. Jonas Jerebko started in his place scoring 12 points.
Rubio said Jerebko did a good job stepping in to start at the last minute. Favors' status is questionable for Wednesday.
"We're going to have a very difficult game at Indiana," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "We know that. They played well against us here and beat us pretty good (109-94 on Jan. 15). The big thing is not to get hung up on home or road, just to get focused on playing well. If we do that hopefully we will compete, be in games and have a chance to win."
Former Jazz forward Trevor Booker is expected to make his Pacers debut Wednesday.
Updated March 6, 2018