Unlike their last meeting, the Indiana Pacers couldn’t look at injuries as a reason for losing to the Golden State Warriors. They could look at being on the second night of a back-to-back, but the Pacers couldn’t get enough rest to combat a Warriors team that featured Klay Thompson going nuclear.
The Pacers trailed all night, but played close early. That went away very quickly behind a trio of Thompson threes as he part of a 40-point first half. Things didn’t get better for anyone but Thompson from there, with him dropping another 20 in the third to score a career high 60 points, all in 29 minutes.
While the Warriors piled it on, the Pacers defense didn’t do a whole lot to make things difficult. Indiana forced only 11 turnovers (four through three), getting outscored 22-11 (22-4 through three) in points off turnovers. The Warriors had 30 fast break points, 45 assists, and 16 offensive rebounds.
As if dominating on the offensive end wasn’t enough, they took away from the Pacers on offense, blocking 12 shots and holding Indiana to just 3-15 shooting from three point range. The Pacers were likely to take a loss in this game regardless of Thompson, but it is frustrating to see every aspect of the game favor Golden State.
Paul George led the way for the Pacers with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He and Jeff Teague did lead Indiana to one minor advantage; a productive night at the free throw line, with the team shooting 33-35. George went 13-13 at the line while Teague was 8-10 as part of his 16 points and six assists.
In the end, it was all Warriors tonight, even in garbage time even when they still expanded their lead. Losing to this team in Oakland is no shame, but there is frustration in how they lost, Thompson’s career night aside. Unlike recent Warriors blowouts in which the Pacers staged late comebacks, there was no point in 48 minutes in which the Pacers outplayed the Warriors.
That’s not to suggest the Pacers didn’t show up. While they were slow to respond to Golden State’s offense, allowing the Warriors to cherry pick easy buckets in transition early, there were stretches where the Pacers played well, but it was all they could do to tread water. A 33-point third quarter still resulted in them losing a quarter in which the Warriors had their worst offensive quarter of the first three, a “lowly” 36 points.
In the silver lining, the Pacers took their lumps against the Warriors and won’t have to subject themselves to being this overpowered again this season, that is, unless they make the NBA Finals. In the meantime, however, the Pacers will need to work their way back to .500 yet again as the road trip shifts to Arizona against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, another team the Pacers are familiar getting blown out to.