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NBA Preview: Indiana Pacers (28-35) at San Antonio Spurs (15-47)

The Indiana Pacers have already begun the postseason, and they are playing with a sense of urgency in the remaining 19 games of the regular season.

When Indiana plays the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, it hopes to continue its upward trajectory. With a 102-94 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, the San Antonio Spurs ended their 16-game losing streak.

On Tuesday, Indiana defeated the Dallas Mavericks convincingly by a score of 124-122 to record its second consecutive victory. The Pacers were led by Tyrese Haliburton, who had 32 points, and Myles Turner, who had 24.

Indiana is two games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament and must win quickly.

Turner has been the team’s most recent leader. Since the All-Star break, the 6-foot-11 center has scored 29.3 points per game on 69.3% shooting in three games. In the victory on Tuesday, he hit 10 of 13 field goals.

Jordan Nwora, a forward who was acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 9, has also provided the Pacers with some life. In Saturday’s 128-108 victory over the Orlando Magic, he had eight rebounds, six assists, and scored 18 points on 8 of 12 shooting.

In the second game of the season on Oct. 21, Indiana is aiming to avenge its 137-134 defeat of San Antonio. In the game, the Spurs never trailed.

Tuesday marked San Antonio’s first road victory since mid-December when it defeated Utah. Keldon Johnson had 25 points, Jeremy Sochan had 13, and Doug McDermott had 19.

The Spurs have Johnson scoring 21.8 points per game this season. He won the game against the Jazz with four points in the final minute.

Against Utah, which shot just 35.3 percent from the field for the season, San Antonio put together one of its best defensive performances of the season. After trailing early in the fourth quarter, the Spurs went on to win for the first time this season.

Popovich has been encouraged by the growth of rookie guard Blake Wesley, who has shown why he should get more playing time by averaging 7.3 points per game on 7-of-17 shooting over his last three games.

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