NBA NEWS

Pacers face Wizards with home win streak on line

Sports Xchange

February 04, 2018 at 3:47 pm.

Feb 3, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) leads a fast break in the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) leads a fast break in the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers are typically a different team at home.

Entering Monday night’s game with the visiting Washington Wizards (30-22), the Pacers (30-24) have won six straight at home to improve to 19-10. One factor is the Lance Effect.

Lance Stephenson comes off the bench to spark the team and fire up the home crowd.

“We love playing for this crowd,” Stephenson said. “This crowd is amazing. They are with us the whole way. They believe in us. They cheer for us, make us hungry and want to win more.”

Stephenson scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the Pacers’ 100-92 victory over visiting Philadelphia on Saturday night.

“He got us going and brought us energy in the first half,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “In the second half, he was solid. He was making his shots. Defensively, he was keeping his man in front and he was rebounding. That’s what we expect him to do, bring energy off the bench and be solid on both ends of the floor. When he plays that way, he really helps this club”

Stephenson has scored in double figures in the last seven games to bring his average to 9.2 points per game. Stephenson averages 10.9 points and 6.2 rebounds at home compared to 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds on the road. He shoots 36 percent on 3-pointers at home, 26.9 percent in away games.

“I just want to win,” Stephenson said. “Always be ready because I see everybody that is open. I’m just trying to make something positive happen. Even when I get mad, they know it’s because I want to win so bad. We’re doing great as a unit.”

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo agreed when Stephenson plays like he did Saturday night, everyone benefits.

“When Lance plays like that it and is effective like that it takes a lot of pressure off everybody,” Oladipo said.

The Wizards have won four in a row since star point guard John Wall was injured. Wall had a knee procedure Jan. 31 and his expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks.

Tomas Satoransky, a 2012 second-round pick, has started the four straight games in Wall’s absence. Satoransky said his body feels the strain of extra minutes.

“Right now, I see how this league is really tough and why other guys don’t practice that much because you don’t think about it until you are in the same position,” Satoransky told The Washington Post.

Satoransky scored a career-high 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting in a 115-98 victory at Orlando.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks has been pleased with Satoransky’s play.

“You’re leading the team every night and you’re the coach on the floor,” Brooks said. “And there are so many athletic, dynamic scoring point guards in the league, and you can’t get frustrated. He’s not going to match point for point, but he’s a winner. He wants to do whatever it takes to win.”

Bradley Beal scored 18 points and had eight rebounds and eight assists against Orlando. Beal sat out the fourth quarter with the other starters in the blowout.

“It’s what the team needs,” Beal said of his all-around play. “With John being out, the teams are just playing me differently. I face a lot more double-teams, a lot more hands on the ball, so they kind of force me to make those types of plays. At the same time, I have to be more of a playmaker when John out so I re-arrange my game a little bit.”