Pelicans ride road hot streak into Indiana

The New Orleans Pelicans are on a roll on the road.

They have won three consecutive road games and six of their past seven away from home. They are 18-12 on the road, which gives them three more road wins than they had all of last season with 11 more to play.

The Pelicans, who routed the Knicks 115-92 in New York on Tuesday, will try to keep the momentum going when they face the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

New Orleans had just a one-point lead on the depleted Knicks at halftime before outscoring New York 67-45 in the second half.

“We got stops, that was the biggest thing,” said Pelicans guard Trey Murphy III, who scored a game-high 26 points and tied a season best by making six 3-pointers. “We got on a run. That’s our best offense, when we get stops and get out on transition. We have a lot of guys who can finish in transition.”

Murphy, who started in place of CJ McCollum (ankle), scored 16 points in the fourth quarter.

“It’s devastating to our opponents when Trey is making shots,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said. “His shot-making ability opens the floor for the rest of the team. They have to burn timeouts. They have to figure out how to guard him.

“You can’t load up on (leading scorer) Zion (Williamson) and (second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram) as much. Then I love what he’s doing. He’s shot-faking, driving and swinging to teammates.”

The Pacers had won three consecutive games before losing at home 130-122 to the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

Indiana had little success on defense in the defeat, and Pacers All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton had a subpar night. Haliburton scored just nine points, shooting 2 of 11 from the floor, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle gave Toronto credit for its emphasis on guarding Haliburton but also attributed the poor performance to the star just having an off night.

“There’s certainly some things I could have helped our team with that I didn’t do,” Carlisle said. “I’ve got to figure out what those are and be better next game.”

Bennedict Mathurin did his best to pick up the slack left by Haliburton, matching his career high by scoring 34 points. Mathurin shot 11 of 15 from the floor, including 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.

“As the game went on and we were struggling, Mathurin’s shot-making in the second half, particularly in the third quarter, held us in the game,” Carlisle said. “We got down 12 and he singlehandedly kept us in the game. He was making some hellacious and really heroic type shots.”

However, Indiana ultimately didn’t have enough offense to overcome its poor defense. The Raptors outscored the Pacers 78-50 on points in the paint.

“It was kind of a you-name-it type thing,” Carlisle said of the disparity. “Transition counts as paint points, cuts, drives, and-ones. There were a lot of different things. We need to be better. It’s disappointing, but we’ve got to bounce back from it.”

The Pacers and the Pelicans will conclude their two-game season series when they meet again Friday night in New Orleans.

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