The Indiana Pacers may have hit a low point on their most recent losing streak.
They'll try to avoid matching their longest slide of the season on Friday when they host the Atlanta Hawks, who are trying to salvage the finale of a three-game road trip.
The Pacers (15-18) have lost five straight, including Wednesday's 90-72 defeat at home to a last-place Memphis team that had dropped five in a row overall and had never won in Indianapolis. Indiana's five-game losing streak is its longest since dropping six straight Nov. 7-16.
"Every loss is disturbing and painful. It's our job to figure it out," coach Jim O'Brien said. "Any time you lose five in a row, you take a step back. We will figure this situation out and be ready to play Friday night."
Wednesday's defeat may have been the most demoralizing one of the losing streak, which began with a 107-95 loss in Atlanta on Dec. 26. The Pacers, coming off a 107-103 overtime loss in Charlotte on Monday, shot a season-low 31 percent -- their worst percentage at Conseco Fieldhouse since it opened in 1999.
Indiana shot just 3-of-17 in the final quarter and managed only nine points -- the fewest it has scored in the fourth since joining the NBA in 1976. The Pacers failed to reach 90 points for the first time in 26 games.
"We played very bad tonight. We struggled from the get-go," guard Marquis Daniels said. "We've got to pull ourselves together and play like the basketball team we used to be."
Getting their point guard back on the floor would no doubt help the Pacers shake their most recent skid. Jamaal Tinsley, who is averaging 13.8 points and ranks fifth in the NBA in assists at 8.7 per game, has missed the last three games with a sore left hamstring.
The Pacers have dropped six of nine against the Hawks (15-14), but have won 12 of 14 at home in the series. Atlanta's Joe Johnson had 16 points and 11 assists in the win over Indiana on Dec. 26.
"They create tough matchups for us," O'Brien said after that game. "Josh Smith, playing one of the big spots, is tougher for our guys because he's so athletic. Joe Johnson is always a tough guy to guard for anybody."
The Hawks are coming off Wednesday's 98-94 loss in Cleveland. Johnson scored 24 points and Smith 20 for Atlanta, which had won a season-best five straight before dropping its last two on this trip.
"In the first half, we did a great job of defending. In the second half, we were still defending well, but they came out and really made some tough shots," said swingman Marvin Williams, who had 16 points.
The Hawks were coming off a 9-4 December, their best record in the month since 1993-94. They had won five of seven on the road before their last two games.
"Atlanta is a very tough team, very talented team, and they beat us down there on their court," Indiana guard Kareem Rush said. "We must come back now and protect our turf."