Things got out of hand for the Indiana Pacers almost instantly and it ballooned into an eyesore of a final score, as the Pacers saw their three game winning streak snapped in Oklahoma against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Indiana had a sluggish start that put them down from the get go, trailing 30-20 after the first quarter. Indiana cut the lead to six by halftime and carried over their late momentum into the third quarter.
Indiana continued to chip away at Oklahoma City's lead, but despite cutting it to a single possession multiple times, Indiana failed to come up with the necessary stop and bucket to tie the game or push themselves into the lead. C.J. Miles was a huge part of Indiana's attack in the third quarter, scoring 15 of his team high 21 points, hitting a three that cut the Oklahoma City lead to one at 65-64.
But true to form, the Pacers allowed a three to Russell Westbrook on the ensuing possession, pushing the lead back to four. At that point the floodgates opened. The three kicked off a 12-1 Thunder run as part of a larger 24-5 run that included six three pointers, dumping the Pacers on the side of the road by a 105-92 final. For a team with as small a margin of error as the Pacers, they could ill afford to come up short in so many areas. Serge Ibaka torched Indiana for 17 first half points, finishing with a game high 23.
In a team short Kevin Durant, putting the weight on Westbrook, who still wound up with a 20 point, 11 rebound, 10 assist triple double, is far preferable to the hurt Oklahoma City's role players put on the Pacers inside with Enes Kanter and Mitch McGary and with an opportunitistic Dion Waiters, hitting three threes in the 24-5 run despite a woeful 5-18 shooting night.
But not just the scoring efforts of the Thunder role players, but it was a game hardly set up for success for the Pacers with their inability to close out on loose balls, come up with key stops, keep Oklahoma City off the offensive glass (15) and limit the Thunder in transition. On the night, the Thunder had 23 fast break points, including 15 in the first half. The Thunder's hot streak put them above 40% for the night, but the lack of success in cleaning up small spills gave Indiana no hope once the Thunder opened up from three point range. T
he Thunder also made nine extra free throws on seven extra attempts. Aside from C.J. Miles, who was hitting anything and everything in the third quarter, it was a lackluster night for individual performances in addition to the play as a team. George Hill had brief success attacking D.J. Augustin, scoring 13, and David West had a few David West-ian type plays among a sea of mediocrity.
The interior play was dreadful from Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi, overshadowing the minimal success the two had on the offensive end. They were outscored 24-11 by Kanter and McGary, who marched to the line for nine attempts. Not surprisingly, Rodney Stuckey was seen coming back to earth, scoring five points on 2-8 shooting. Solomon Hill filled out his scoring numbers in garbage time to finish with 11.
The Pacers return home Friday night to face the Cleveland Cavaliers, who after allowing 62 first half points to Detroit, came up with a win to keep both Indiana and Detroit tied in the standings as Indiana will look for a repeat of their win over the Cavs earlier this month.