The last time the Pacers had a four-game Western Conference road trip, Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert left something behind.
As the Pacers head out for their second – and last – four-game jaunt out West, the Pacers have much to gain if their two best players can find whatever they lost.
As with the first trip, this one begins in Los Angeles, with a Martin Luther King Monday matinee against the Clippers (3:45 p.m., WIBC 93 FM). The Pacers opened their last trip with an upset of the Lakers fueled by Hibbert's 24 points and 12 rebounds. They followed that up with a win in Sacramento as Granger scored a season-high 37 points.
At that point, the Pacers were 9-7 and Granger was averaging 22.7 points, shooting .452 overall and .417 from the arc. He had 10 games of at least 20 points, including four of at least 30.
Hibbert was averaging 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds, shooting .488 from the field and was considered the early leader for the Most Improved Player award. He had seven double-doubles.
But then they suddenly, mysteriously, lost their way, dropping 14 of 21 games after that encouraging start.
Granger has averaged 19.4 points and shot .393 overall and .333 from the 3-point line in that span, with just eight games of 20-plus points including one of 30.
Hibbert has dropped to 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and .395 shooting with four double-doubles.
"Our offensive struggles," said Granger, "have been well-documented, to say the least."
This trip, then is about much more than grabbing a couple of victories and preserving playoff positioning. It's about getting their best players back on track so the Pacers can get on with business.