Tonight, Lance Stephenson was Lance Stephenson. It’s funny really. From that sentence, you can’t really tell what that means. Was he good Lance? Was he bad Lance? Maybe he was both.
Coming into the fourth quarter, the Pacers...
As much as I want to write about the fourth quarter, and only that, we first have to discuss the very ‘meh’ first three quarters. Don’t worry, I’ll make it quick.
In their first game in the new Hickory uniforms, the Pacers came out flat. The defense was nonexistent, the offense was slow, and it was arguably the Pacers worst opening quarter of the season. After the first, the Pistons led the Pacers 32 - 23, and this play by Ish Smith summed up the quarter.
The Pacers failed to make it more interesting in the second. According to Pat Boylan, it took a whole 21 minutes until the Pistons committed their first turnover of the game. The Pistons won the second quarter 26 - 24, and led the Pacers by 11 heading into halftime. The Pacers finished with just 47 points at the half.
The third quarter was a quarter of runs. Immediately, the Pacers began the second half on a 7 - 0 run to cut the deficit to 4. After a Stan Van Gundy timeout, the Pistons responded with an 18 - 2 run, including a 22-point lead midway through the quarter. Though the Pacers were down 19 during this play, Victor Oladipo provided a bright moment for Indiana fans with this monster block.
Yet the Pacers (er, Victor Oladipo) were able to respond with another run of their own. They ended the third on a 15 - 3 run, down 10.
I told you I’d make it quick. Now, back to where we started: the fourth quarter.
Throughout the season, the Pacers have consistently struggled to close out games. They have allowed their opponent to comeback from multiple double-digit leads, and almost allowed the Memphis Grizzlies to do just that on Wednesday night.
Tonight was different.
Tonight, the Pacers trailed heading into the fourth quarter. Tonight, Lance Stephenson was Lance Stephenson.
Through three quarters, Lance had a whopping zero points and three turnovers. That was bad Lance. For the fourth quarter, Indiana got to watch good Lance.
Indiana got to watch Lance start the quarter with a nice jump shot, 84 - 73. They got to watch Lance grab an offensive rebound, miss the layup, grab the rebound again, and put the ball in the basket for two points, 84 - 81. On the next possession, Lance passed the ball behind his back to Domantas Sabonis for a mid-range swish, 84 - 83. Indiana then celebrated as Lance knocked down a critical three-pointer and wiggled his hips, 92 - 91.
He wasn’t done. Indiana got to watch Lance out jump Andre Drummond for a tip-in, 92 - 95, and knock down another deep three-pointer, 97 - 101. Behind Stephenson’s 13-point fourth quarter, the Pacers came back to win 100 - 107.
In fact, good Lance had everyone dancing. Darren Collison was dancing, and then Victor Oladipo was dancing. Those three deserved to dance. Those three were awesome tonight.
Oladipo led the Pacers with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Collison added 16 points and 6 assists, while Lance finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 loud Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers are back to .500 (8 - 8) and will dance their way to Miami for a re-match on Sunday at 5:00 pm ET.