Slumping Indiana Pacers Look To Lance Stephenson For Scoring Help


What’s happened to the Indiana Pacers offense?

Lance Stephenson scored 22 points Sunday in a 90-80 NBA loss to the New York Knicks. David West had 17 points, but that was about all the offense the slumping Pacers could muster.

Stephenson’s performance was heartening for the Pacers, who need to covet as many bright spots now that they can.

The Pacers committed 26 turnovers that led to 33 points and shot 61.5 percent at the free-throw line, losing for the fourth time in five games with a sloppy offensive performance.

The Pacers can get the coveted No. 2 spot in the NBA East playoffs, but need to hang onto third against the Brooklyn Nets. But more importantly, they need to win the next two games and regain their confidence going into the playoffs. This is where Stephenson can help, even more so than he did on Sunday.

Stephenson has been a steady force for the Pacers most of the season. He’s the type of player the Pacers need now, someone who can stay steady and consistent, and can encourage the team to play well regardless of the ups and downs it might incur.

He showed that against the Knicks in a hostile atmosphere, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-9 in three-pointers. If the Knicks and Pacers wind up No. 2 and No. 3 in the East, there’s a good chance they could meet in the conference semifinals. The Knicks would have home court advantage, the Pacers would have to win at least one game at Madison Square Garden to take the series. Stephenson’s performance helps to remind other Pacers what they’ll need to do if they want to get past an anticipated playoff match-up with the Knicks.

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