The outcome was hardly a surprise as the Golden State Warriors held serve at home against the Indiana Pacers, but for the Pacers to look at this game as something of a lost opportunity may come as one. The Pacers were blitzed out of the gate by Golden State, who outscored Indiana 25-8, but credit to the Pacers for not folding and keeping themselves in the game as it progressed.
The Warriors would never lead by more than 17, but the Pacers spent the rest of the night chasing that deficit despite outscoring the Warriors 102-97 over the game's final 43 minutes. Despite the horrid start, the Pacers played as well as could be expected while simultaneously shooting themselves in the foot those ensuing 43 minutes. Indiana was just 19-27 at the free throw line, shot 3-17 from three point range, allowed 30 fast break points, and allowed 14 offensive rebounds, but time and time again, they in position to threaten the Warriors.
Much of that came, once again, from Indiana's emerging rookie superpowers, with Joe Young scoring 16 points on 6-12 shooting to go with eight assists and Myles Turner scoring 31 points on 12-17 shooting. Turner scored seven at the line and pulled in eight rebounds. The combined effort of Turner and Young alone gave Indiana's bench a sizeable edge over the Warriors, but there weren't enough playmakers outside of those two to seriously contend with what was happening on the other end of the floor.
The Warriors, for all the talk of passing and shooting, weren't at their best tonight, but you wouldn't know it by the final score, their passing, and their shooting. One area Indiana came up well short in was winning the 50/50 battle. Golden State had 17 turnovers leading to 23 Indiana points, a number that could've been much higher had the Warriors not excelled at broken plays leading to ridiculous bucket after ridiculous bucket.
Stephen Curry had a 39 point triple double on the night, hitting eight three pointers, including two shots beyond half court (though only one of those counted). His wizardry more than made up for any shortcomings the Warriors may or may not have had on the night, while the only veteran of note for Indiana was Monta Ellis, who had all 18 of his points in the second half after three quick fouls sidelined him in the first half.
Already short Rodney Stuckey and George Hill (as well as Ian Mahinmi), the Pacers needed all the scoring help they could get, and Paul George shooting 5-15 for 12 points and C.J. Miles pitching in just three, big time plays were in short commodity for the blue and gold. That is, aside from Turner. Turner's 31 points is not only a career best (obviously), but the highest scoring output for any rookie this season, besting a 29-point outing from Kristaps Porzingis.
As it stands, however, good performances or not, the Pacers once again find themselves in the loss column; dropping them to 2-5 in their last seven. At 23-20, the Pacers hold onto the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, though not for long if they can't beat anybody except Phoenix. Back-to-back woes will be the headline heading into tomorrow night's road trip finale against the Sacramento Kings, but tonight's effort would generally be enough to win against mortal teams, giving Indiana a template on ending their road trip on a high note.