At least they don't play back-to-backs in the playoffs.
That's the positive takeaway from the Pacers 109-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets last night. After falling behind by double-digits in the first half for the third consecutive game, the Pacers put forth the effort to get back in the game in the second half, but didn't have the juice to get over the hump and put themselves in position to win late.
The ninth overall loss of the season was the Pacers' sixth L on a road back-to-back game. Both Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi fouled out which moved the Pacers record to 1-3 when Hibbert is forced to the pine early. Fouling in general drives Frank Vogel nuts and the Pacers didn't help Vogel's sanity any last night. 27 fouls is not part of the Pacers defensive plan but it is a sure sign of fatigue when players resort to a reach instead of moving the extra step or two maintain defensive position.
Those poor loss indicators overcame what is usually a sure-fire winning indicator -- the effort by Lance Stephenson. Lance kept the Pacers going with 19 of his 23 points in the second and third quarters. He added 10 rebounds and seven assists for his 12th double-double of the season, which normally means a win, but not last night. The Pacers are now 11-1 after a Lance double-double.
The Pacers now have two full days off in Los Angeles where they can rest and prepare to play the Lakers on Tuesday night.
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