The pendulum swung back in the favor of the Indiana Pacers tonight, securing their first road win of the season against the San Antonio Spurs. The Pacers led most of the night, jumping out for good after a masterful first quarter. Indiana played sharp throughout the first half, building a double figure lead.
The worst stretch of the night for the Pacers came in the third quarter as DeMar DeRozan helped chip away at Indiana’s lead, drawing them to within nine late in the third. From that point, the bench substitutions brought a much needed boost for the Pacers, closing the third on a 12-4 run.
From there, the Pacers would go on to close out an impressive 116-96 win over San Antonio, pushing their lead to as many as 29 in the fourth quarter. It would mark the second straight win over the Spurs in San Antonio and third straight overall. It marked the first time the Pacers have won three straight against the Spurs since 1996.
The Pacers didn’t get there by accident. The way they moved the ball was superb the entire night. This play late in the third saw six passes in the half court, including three separate touches for Cory Joseph to eventually sink the three.
The #Pacers worked on getting better ball movement leading up to tonight's game, and it's certainly paying off so far.— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) October 25, 2018
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This kind of movement created great looks for the Pacers, especially from three point range. The Pacers hit six of seven attempts in the first and finished with a season high 17. Fourteen of those threes were assisted on and eight different Pacers hit one. The looks were exceptional and guys did a great job of putting the ball in the basket all night.
Victor Oladipo led the way for the starters with three shots from deep, finishing with 21 points overall and a game high nine assists. Oladipo shot an efficient 7-12 and didn’t force shots, instead finding teammates throughout the game, dishing to six different players. Oladipo also had a pair of steals, building a 23-14 Pacers advantage in points off turnovers.
All told, the Pacers had 34 assists on the night to just 10 turnovers. It helped the Pacers overcome a rebounding deficit and another night in which they were largely outshot from the free throw line; tonight being 20-7. The Pacers did defend well in general, holding the Spurs to just 40.2%, 6-19 from three, and under 100 for the first time in their season.
The Pacers starters scored 57 points, including double figure nights from Thaddeus Young (14 points) and Myels Turner (10). They were matched point for point by the second unit (plus an extra Kyle O’Quinn jumper for good measure). T.J. Leaf returned to action after suffering a sprained ankle in the season opener, expanding the rotation to 10. While he struggled to find himself within the offense, the rest of the bench unit all bounced back big time after a woeful performance on Monday, reaching double figures.
The backcourt combination of Tyreke Evans and Cory Joseph worked well tonight, with the duo combining for nine threes and nine assists in 24 minutes. Evans finished with 19 points, 13 of those coming in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory. Joseph had 12, picking up six rebounds. Doug McDermott continued to show off his range of offensive game with 10, including a nice dunk in transition from Evans.
Domantas Sabonis led the bench for much of the night, asserting his familiar dominance inside by scoring 16 points and pulling in 10 rebounds. He even joined in on the fun from deep, hitting his first three of the season, all while finding time to put Davis Bertans on a poster.
With the win, the Pacers move to 3-2 on the year, alternating wins and losses through the first five games of the year. More than that, the Pacers have yet to find any kind of medium between these kinds of impressive performances and the flat-footed ones that plagued their two losses.
They will have an opportunity to find some level of game-to-game consistency on Saturday however, when they wrap up their three game road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs dropped to 0-4 on the season with a loss tonight and have played just one game within 10 points on the year thus far.
With contributions all over the board, who was Indiana’s Player of the Game?
Player of the Game
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