The formula for the Pacers to win at Golden State on Monday night revealed itself early.
Take care of the ball and attack the lane on offense. The Pacers certainly came out in attack mode, taking advantage of Golden State turnovers and indeed getting the ball to the rim. Obviously, Jim O'Brien emphasized not settling for jumpers and T.J. Ford in particular got the message, working his way into the lane whenever possible.
While Golden State had 15 first half turnovers, the Pacers failed to take full advantage thanks to 13 turnovers of their own. The Pacers lost the turnover battle and the game in the second half with another 11 donations as a potential win suddenly slipped out of reach as the Warriors took control of the game in the fourth quarter to win, 126-107.
Monta Ellis had a career-high 45 points for Golden State which included a seven-point explosion to start the fourth quarter which put the Warriors in control of the game. After spending much of the night making an array of layups from every angle, Ellis hit a few long jumpers and then his teammates joined the party.
When Ellis fouled out with six minutes left in the game, the Pacers were down 12 but had plenty of time to work their way back into winning position. Instead Corey Maggette filled the scoring void left by Ellis and the Warriors actually expanded the lead until JOB threw up the white flag and emptied the bench, down 15 with 2:33 left in the game.
Despite the final deficit, the Pacers had this win within grasp at a few different points throughout the first two and a half quarters, but their own carelessness with the ball combined with Monta Ellis kept the Warriors within striking distance. The Pacers had several double-digit leads but instead of pushing the advantage out to 20, the Warriors would capitalize on Pacer mistakes and drop the lead inside 10. With a 12-point first half lead and 13-point third quarter lead everything seemed to come easy for the Pacers, if they could just take care of the little things and on big thing, the ball, they'd roll to a win.
But instead, the let the Dubs hang around and once Monta's teammates joined the party, the Warriors simply ambushed the Pacers and seized the game early in the fourth quarter, gripping it tightly until the final buzzer.
On to Sacramento for a Wednesday night game against a very tough Kings team. I have a feeling the Pacers will be in a gym somewhere tomorrow.