The Indiana Pacers came through with their best effort of the season in a one-sided win over the Los Angeles Clippers at home. The Pacers, still short Paul George and C.J. Miles, imposed their will on the Clippers for 48 minutes to secure a valuable win to salvage a 2-2 record in their latest four-game home stand.
Indiana trailed only briefly late in the first quarter, but a 5-0 run to close the quarter put the Pacers up for good. Indiana’s energy was on display early, forcing the Clippers into 10 first quarter turnovers. The Clippers drew to within a point at the 4:20 mark of the second, but the Pacers closed the half on a 17-8, which set up a second half that Indiana put their stamp on defensively, holding Los Angeles to 30 points.
The Clippers’ 70 points is the lowest offensive output of the Doc Rivers era as the Pacers defense held LA to 31.4% shooting. The Pacers came with more energy than the Clippers and scrapped their way to a win in every area, including a +12 rebounding advantage with 13 offensive rebounds and an extra 22 field goal attempts and outscoring the Clippers 42-16 in the paint.
The Pacers came away with this game as a team, rewarding fans with biscuits thanks to extra hustle plays from Monta Ellis, Lavoy Allen’s three offensive rebounds, and 10 assists from Jeff Teague. Everyone helped contribute to the win, but the Pacers also got a number of outstanding individual efforts that played towards the victory.
Glenn Robinson III the led the way for the Pacers with 17 points on 7-9 shooting. Robinson lifted his play in a big way since stepping in for George’s injury and tonight was his best showing in being a go-to for the team. Robinson was the Pacer to shoot over 50% on the night, and even after tonight, he was clear that he wasn’t surprising himself.
Myles Turner also scored 17 points, piecing together a double double with 12 rebounds. Turner played well early, but didn’t allow early foul trouble to take him out of the game once he returned. Turner had a series of big plays throughout the night, none bigger than a putback dunk in the fourth quarter.
The dunk was key the Clippers had clawed out a 6-0 run to cut Indiana’s lead to 15 with over seven minutes remaining. Indiana hadn’t scored in nearly four minutes and the shot selection was deteriorating. However unlikely it may have been for a Clippers offense stuck in mud to make up the 15 points, the dunk forced a Doc Rivers timeout, and LA scored just four points the rest of the night.
The foul trouble to Turner early didn’t cause much grief to the Pacers thanks to the big night from Al Jefferson off the bench. Jefferson had 16 points and eight rebounds, but more importantly, looked comfortable shooting the ball. Jefferson’s touch was soft round the rim and even joined in on the hustle plays by diving for a loose ball in the first half to force one of many Clippers turnovers.
Rodney Stuckey and Thaddeus Young also reached double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively, contributing to the hustle plays in between timely baskets. Stuckey led the way for Indiana at the free throw line at 4-5 and Young put the stamp on the game with a thunderous dunk.
The Pacers would always prefer to have George healthy and ready to go, but George’s injury has given fresh life to the Pacers, who have really taken to scrappy play to lead to blowout wins in their last two games. The emergence of Robinson III has been invaluable and him finding a steady role once George returns will be key in the Pacers finding a groove later in the season.
In the meantime, however, the Pacers are tasked with a 12-day, five-game road trip that begins in Portland against Trail Blazers. But that Wednesday tip is the only game Indiana plays this upcoming week, giving them hope in getting guys back for next Sunday’s rematch against the Clippers.