The Indiana Pacers rolled over against another struggling team, getting blown out in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans to return to a familiar spot under .500. The Pacers once again entered the fourth quarter with a (slim) lead, but fell apart in the final five minutes, allowing the Pelicans to take the lead and close the win on a 15-0 run.
The Pacers wasted a superb effort from Myles Turner, who scored 26 on 11-14 shooting with eight rebounds, going to work against Anthony Davis all night. Unfortunately, it was Davis who got the better of the matchup late, finishing with a 35 point, 16 rebound, five block effort.
Besides Davis, the Pacers had a difficult time containing Buddy Hield, who had 21 points on 5-8 three point shooting. Any time the Pacers appeared to gain control of the game, it seemed Hield was there with a timely three to bring the Pelicans back. While Hield had a career night from deep, Indiana had their worst night of the year from deep, shooting just 3-21.
The betrayal of the three point shot for the Pacers was coupled with another bad night on the glass as the Pelicans finished the night with a +10 rebounding edge, Terrence Jones joining Davis with a double double at 10 points and 11 rebounds. Turner led the Pacers with eight, pulling in only seven offensive boards to New Orleans’s 12.
Jeff Teague had a 21 point, 10 assist double double, but was 0-6 from three point range, encapsulating Indiana’s struggles despite the positives. In the backcourt, Glenn Robinson III failed to step up shooting, scoring just two points on 1-7 shooting, missing open looks that could’ve given the Pacers success.
Paul George scored 18, though his 13 shots were third most on the team behind Teague and Turner, tied with Al Jefferson, who scored 14 points. George was 2-3 from three point range, and his lack of involvement offensively not only as a scoring threat, but as a three point threat is a frustrating development with Teague and C.J. Miles struggling with only one three pointer between them on 12 attempts.
The Pacers drop to 13-14 and face the possibility of a winless road trip when they face the Detroit Pistons for the first time this season on Saturday. Indiana will enter the game 3-10 on the road, the fifth worst mark in the league, completely offsetting what amounts to the third most home wins on the young season.
Without finding some semblance of consistency on the road, any perceived growth continue to go unnoticed, and justifiably so. In the meantime, these bad losses (now having lost to six of the seven worst teams in the league) are putting them towards the bottom of an eight-team scrum for six playoff spots in an absurdly tight Eastern Conference standings.