Fresh off their grueling Asia trip with a 180-degree flip in time zones, the Indiana Pacers dropped their fourth consecutive preseason game, losing 92-85 to the retooled Dallas Mavericks. Not a surprise, and not a big deal.
Paul George sat out with bronchitis, which is a worry considering how much these things take out of the body in addition to the fatigue and jet lag he must be experiencing. Roy Hibbert, David West and George Hill, who suffered a mild ankle sprain during the Taipei game, also all sat out. Most of the team has been battling insomnia thanks to the time difference and it might be another week or two before they recover.
Another concern is Danny Granger, who started tonight but played just 8 minutes before spraining his left calf. It's got nothing to do with his knee but any injury with him at this stage should be monitored very closely, which explains why they sat him out.
That meant Lance Stephenson got the bulk of the starters minutes with 30 and he finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, shooting 5-9 from the field and 3-5 from the line. Luis Scola, who sat out the game in Taipei, also started and had 14 points but shot just 5-15 from the field. Ian Mahinmi and CJ Watson also started but none of them did very much. I put it all down to the lasting effects of the Asia trip.
Chris Copeland continued to put up shots and miss. He had 11 points but was 3-12 from the field including 3-10 from the outside. Orlando Johnson got some burn and finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes. Guys like Hilton Armstrong, Donald Sloan and Rasual Butler all played 10 minutes or more.
Coach Frank Vogel knows his team is in a delicate situation right now. The Pacers' last 4 preseason games will be on the road, and he has said that the he will treat the final two games like regular season games in terms of rotation. But for now, it's time for the team to get some much-needed rest and recover.