The Pacers fell victim to another poor second half stretch, eventually losing to the New Orelans Pelican, 117-112.
The Pacers were forced to play the front-court heavy Pelicans without Domas Sabonis (calf), but nobody said basketball is fair. Here’s how things played out from start to finish at the Fieldhouse.
After trading blows early in the first quarter, the Pacers caught a break when DeMarcus Cousins was called for a reaching foul 90 feet away from the Pacers bucket and had to go to the bench with two fouls midway through the opening quarter.
Victor Oladipo threw down a reverse dunk shortly thereafter and the Pacers opened up an early lead. But the Pacers went deep on their bench, choosing to go small with Boogie on the Pels' bench, adding Joe Young to the reserve rotation instead of an additional big wing (Wilkins, Poythress).
The move didn't work as hoped, with the reserves letting the lead slip late in the first quarter before Al Jefferson replaced Myles Turner and Anthony Davis was found rolling off a pick for an uncontested dunk. Regardless, the bench mob battled and the Pacers held a 37-34 lead heading into the second quarter.
Lance Stephenson found a bit of a groove in the second quarter and earned some extra minutes with a few starters as McMillan kept Victor Oldaipo on the bench with two fouls. Positive Lance spreads energy and Myles Turner and Thad Young took it in to go at Boogie and Brow on the offensive end.
Suddenly everything was rolling at the offensive end as the Pacers finished the half up 75-61...serisously, 75 first half points!
Myles Turner led the way with 14 points, but had plenty of help with Lance (12), Thad (11), Bojan (9), DC (9) and Vic scoring 8 points in only eight first-quarter minutes. This was the Pacers at their best, shrugging off a combined 29 points by Boogie and Brow.
Pacers came out a little flat to begin the third and the rested first unit for New Orleans took advantage. Jrue Holiday started cookin to keep Boogie and Brow rolling. The change in momentum exemplified when Cousins out-wrestled Turner and Thad Young for a missed AD free throw resulting in an easy put back.
Suddenly we had a one-possession game on our hands.
This would've been a good time for a time out, but McMillan let 'em go and after swapping bucket, Nate stopped the madness. Unfortunately, the madness continued as the Pacers caught a severe case of the clanks while scrapping to keep pace with the Pels as Boogie an Brow started rolling, agains.
The New Orleans' duo combined for 57 points before Cousins took a season late in the third quarter, leaving the Pacers down 96-94 heading to winning time.
The Pacers tried to survive the early fourth with a lineup consisting of Lance, Al, Joe Young, Leaf and Corey Joseph. The group hung tough and kept the deficit at two before the regular rotation started filtering back to the court.
But nothing could stop the poor perimeter shooting that broke out at the south end of BLF. Once in awhile the Pacers would find the net to keep pace. Corey Joseph hit a three with just over seven minutes remaining. The next make was wiped out by an offensive foul away from the ball, leaving the Pacers empty. In fact, throughout a five minutes stretch in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Pacers scored five points.
It was winning time and this is where the Pacers came up short despite battling to the end.
Myles Turner stopped the drought with a pair of free throws with around four minutes remaining but the struggle continued until a collison corner three brought the Fieldhouse to life and the Pacers within one point with 1:30 left to play.
But there was that man, again. Anthony Davis quickly answered to quiet the crowd and force a time out. Bogdanovic sized up Boogie and drove by him for a bucket to cut the lead back down to one. Then a stop!
Down one with 37 seconds left and 10 seconds later, Myles Turner pulled the string on a jumper leaving it short and going the other way. Jrue Holiday missed the second of two free throws, but Anthony Davis corralled the high carom, went to the ground and called timeout before getting tied up.
Another missed free throw was tipped in by DeMarcus Cousins.
The Pelicans’ duo of Cousins and Davis combined for 69 points which wiped out a balanced effort by the Pacers, led by Myles Turner who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.