The Indiana Pacers were forced to play resilient basketball in order to stage a victory over the Sacramento Kings. The Pacers trailed by seven after one and as many as 12 in the second quarter. They stayed calm + clear + connected in the run, spearheaded by Domantas Sabonis, scoring four as the Pacers began to chip away at the lead, eventually taking the lead with just under two minutes left in the half.
Things again went awry for Indiana in the third, with uncertainty in the passing game leading to six turnovers that Sacramento used to take a 68-62 lead. Myles Turner responded with a surefire three that would allow Indiana to regain the lead on a 9-0 run. Heading into the fourth, the Pacers pushed their advantage to seven, but big time shooting from Justin Jackson allowed the Kings to cut the score to one.
At the same time, the Pacers were able to weather this stretch thanks to big time shooting from Doug McDermott, who hit a pair of threes that kept them ahead, the second kicking off a 16-2 run that put Indiana well in control as the game wound down. In that run, the Pacers were monstrous defensively, forcing four live ball turnovers (three coming from Aaron Holiday) and holding Sacramento to 1-5 shooting across the four minutes.
On the offensive end, it was all about Thaddeus Young, using back-to-back three point plays to push the lead into double figures. The Kings wouldn’t come to within 10 the rest of the night, shoring up their third straight win. Indiana held Sacramento to 42% shooting and to their first game under 100 points since November 10 and just their third of the season. They entered on nine straight games over 110 points.
Young led the way for the Pacers with 20 points on 7-13 shooting. He had nine around and followed up a surprising night from three point range with a surprising night from the free throw line, finishing 5-6. Young’s activity was, not surprisingly, a big factor in the Pacers overcoming their moments of struggling to break through into the win.
He was one of seven Pacers in double figures, with Bojan Bogdanovic scoring 18. Bogdanovic struggled shooting at just 5-13, but was a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line, working his way to the line early and often on a night when the Pacers as a team continued to shoot well, finishing 19-22.
He had just a single three, but Indiana’s three point shooting proved to be timely rather than efficient. They were just 8-30, but it felt they came at key times, be it Turner’s confident look in the third to turn the game in Indiana’s favor or both of McDermott’s shots in the fourth. McDermott would eventually reach double figures on the strength of those threes (including a big jam in the third), helping the bench to a 36-28 victory.
Turner was the lone starter not in double figures, but did have a big game with 13 rebounds and four blocks. Similiar to the night by Holiday, who was scoreless but had big stops defensively in the fourth with his three steals. Darren Collison would lead the Pacers at halftime with 14 points, hitting a buzzer beater to finish the half and finish with six assists and no turnovers.
Tyreke Evans finished with 10, continuing to mix positives and negatives with strong takes to the rim followed by absolutely perplexing passes that would either be late or out of reach. Off the bench, Cory Joseph would clean up some of the lazier passing by the Pacers, dishing eight assists to go with 11 points. Sabonis was an absolute force in his return from food poisoning, scoring 14 points with six rebounds to lead the second unit.
Both teams entered on the second night of a back-to-back and it was Indiana that was able to grab the win, improving to 5-0 on the season with no rest. Overall, the Pacers move to 16-10 on the season, winning their third straight for a third time this season. It’s also a season high in consecutive wins for the Pacers, who will have a chance to extend it further with a home against the Washington Wizards on Monday.