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Pacers aim to continue dominance over Nets

The suddenly struggling Indiana Pacers will attempt to right the ship Thursday when they shoot for a 10th consecutive win over the New Jersey Nets.

Early in the season the Pacers, who are kicking off a three-game homestand tonight against some of the NBA's worst teams, looked like one of the most improved clubs in the league, getting off to an impressive 17-7 start. But, a five-game losing streak over the past week has tempered things a bit.

Indiana's latest setback came in Cleveland on Wednesday when rookie star Kyrie Irving returned from a three-game absence due to a concussion and scored 22 points, as the Cavaliers never trailed en route to a 98-87 victory.

The Pacers, playing without Danny Granger (ankle) were led by Darren Collison's 18 points. All-Star Roy Hibbert chipped in with 17.

"Good teams don't lose this many games in a row," said Pacers forward David West, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds but shot just 4-for-15 from the field. "So right now we can't call ourselves a good team."

Granger, who sprained his left ankle vs. Miami on Tuesday, is questionable for tonight's contest, the final game in a back-to-back-to-back stretch for Indiana.

The Pacers, who will also host Charlotte (3-26) and New Orleans (6-23) on their residency, are 7-4 in the Hoosier State this season.

The Nets have been even worse than the Pacers recently and lost their season- high seventh straight on Wednesday to Memphis, a 105-100 setback in Newark.

All-Star Deron Williams and Shelden Williams each had double-doubles for New Jersey, as Deron scored 26 and dished out 11 assists while Shelden netted 10 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. DeShawn Stevenson (sore knees) returned after an eight-game absence with sore knees but finished 0-for-5 from the field.

"We had a lot of turnovers in the last couple minutes of the game," said Deron Williams. "It was within our grasp and the turnovers cost us."

On the injury front for New Jersey, Jordan Farmar, who missed Wednesday's game with a strained right groin, is listed as day-to-day.