The Pacers have won three straight and six out of their last seven. The lone setback was a road loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 23. Indy leads Chicago by 5 1/2 games for the Central Division crown and is even with the New York Knicks for the second spot in the East.
Saturday’s game is the third of a four-game road trip where the Pacers are undefeated thus far. They toppled the Houston Rockets 100-91 on Wednesday, then thumped the Dallas Mavericks 103-78 on Thursday.
“I was very, very pleased with the win,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. “In particular, our defensive effort seemingly keeps getting better and better. I’m very impressed with how dialed in our guys are, and how disciplined they’re playing on the defensive end. We moved the ball pretty well in the second half, better than the first half offensively.”
David West returned after missing six games with a back injury and only managed seven points in 28 minutes. Paul George netted 24 points, while Roy Hibbert registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pacers announced before Thursday’s game that former All-Star forward Danny Granger would miss the remainder of the season after knee surgery. Granger only played five games this season.
Indiana will finish its road trip against the L.A. Clippers on Monday.
The Suns have been struggling badly of late, losing five straight and nine of 10. Phoenix is only 3-11 in the month of March and lottery-bound.
The Suns most recent setback came on Thursday against fellow Pacific Division cellar-dwellers, the Sacramento Kings. The Kings were 14 ahead at the half and won by that amount, 117-103.
“I thought our effort was there tonight,” said interim coach Lindsey Hunter. “I think our execution wasn’t. I think guys had mental lapses at times on different coverages and it resulted in them scoring especially at certain, crucial times when we had the game manageable to get a little closer.”
Luis Scola led the way with 25 points, followed by P.J. Tucker, who had 18. Wesley Johnson and Michael Beasley both had 14 points.
Rookie guard Kendall Marshall had nine points and 10 assists. It was his second straight game with double-digit assists.
The Suns have taken four of the last five against the Pacers and Indiana is 1-6 in its last seven in Phoenix.