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Pacers limp into All-Star break, lose sixth straight

INDIANAPOLIS — Even with the reprieve of the NBA All-Star break looming this weekend, the Indiana Pacers were once again unable to put together a full 48 minutes against a good team Thursday night, losing to the Washington Wizards 111-98 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“Tonight’s loss looked a little flat,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the game. “Maybe we’re a little fatigued.”

The loss marked the sixth consecutive losing decision for Indiana, which has fallen back to within one game of .500 on the season after being seven games above that mark and solidly in the playoff picture just over a week ago.

Washington dominated the action from start to finish, jumping out to a 34-27 lead after the first quarter and never looking back. The Wizards utilized a 20-7 run in the second quarter to gain the separation needed to keep Indiana at bay for the rest of the evening. The Pacers fought hard, but were never able to get closer than eight during the final five minutes.

Paul George and Myles Turner led Indiana with 17 points apiece, while Otto Porter Jr. paced the victors with 25 points, including six three-pointers.

The NBA All-Star break comes at an important time for the Pacers, who have had little to be excited about over the past week.

“We’re just not playing well right now,” point guard Jeff Teague said. “Everybody needs to take a step back from basketball, get back, focus and come back with a new sense of urgency.”

The six-game losing streak, which is the longest of the season for Indiana, comes directly on the heals of its longest winning streak of the season, seven games.

The Pacers do not play again for a full eight days, when they will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, Feb. 24 in another Hickory Night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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