Pacers take hot streak home, host Magic

( - The Indiana Pacers have battled their way back into postseason contention when things seemed bleak weeks ago.

The Pacers have won a season-high five in a row and 11 of their last 13 games and will start a four-game homestand Tuesday versus Orlando, Milwaukee, Boston and Toronto.

Indiana handed the New York Knicks a 92-86 defeat at Madison Square Garden and was led by Rodney Stuckey's 17 points off the bench. George Hill scored 15 points and David West had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who survived despite shooting 38 percent.

After Alexey Shved's jumper staked the Knicks to a 73-67 advantage with 8:59 remaining, the Pacers answered with an 11-2 run to go in front. C.J. Watson recorded a 4-point play to cap the surge and give Indiana a 78-75 cushion with 6:36 to play.

"Proud of our defensive effort. We needed it. We had a tough shooting night," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said.

The Pacers, who are even with Charlotte for the seventh and eighth spots in the Eastern Conference, have allowed 86 or fewer points in every game of their current winning streak. They have committed 15 or fewer turnovers in each of the past 17 contests.

Indiana is unbeaten in its last five home games and 16-14 as the host.

Pacers center Roy Hibbert (illness) is questionable Tuesday.

Orlando went 2-2 on a recent homestand and closed the stay with back-to-back victories over Sacramento and Boston. It had lost four straight prior to the current winning streak.

In a 103-98 triumph over the Celtics on Sunday, Elfrid Payton came up short on a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, for the Magic, winners in five of the past nine games.

The Magic scored 34 points in the fourth quarter and improved to 6-6 under interim coach James Borrego. Maurice Harkless scored 14 points off the bench in 30 minutes of action and played a big role in the final stanza. Harkless and Tobias Harris combined for 16 points in the fourth quarter.

"He's done a great job of continuing to get better while he wasn't playing," Oladipo said of Harkless. "Tonight his opportunity came and he did what he needed to do."

Magic center Nikola Vucevic has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and is questionable Tuesday. Vucevic is posting an average of 19.7 points and 11.2 rebounds this season. Magic guard Evan Fournier (hip) is questionable.

Orlando has a 10-22 road record and will also visit Milwaukee and Boston on this trip. It is winless in the past seven away assignments.

The Pacers are 2-0 against the Magic this season and have won three straight and 11 of the previous 13 games in this series, including the playoffs.

Indiana has prevailed in each of the last six encounters with Orlando at home with two of those victories occurring in the postseason.