“We got the win, that’s all I care about.”
The win helped the Pacers salvage a 2-2 record on their four-game road trip before heading home to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
DC came up big in the second half and huge down the stretch, scoring the final six points for the Pacers to finish with 22 points, 6 assists and no turnovers. Among the big shots late in the game, was a three-pointer with just under two minutes remaining after the Pels cut the lead to one point.
The Pacers had not scored in over three minutes and were in desperate need of a closer as their six-point lead boiled down to one point. DC delivered from behind the arc, then rattled home a second-chance shot after a big tap-out rebound by Cory Joesph.
Through a series of odd plays and struggles to in bound the ball, the Pacers were up three with five seconds remaining. Cory Joseph was able to foul on the floor with 2.2 seconds remaining, forcing Jrue Holiday to shoot two free throws. The elder Holiday tried to miss the second, but the carom shot off of Jahlil Okafor’s hand and out of bounds (not to mention, Holiday ran into the lane after releasing the ball).
That would do it, despite a struggle all night to stay a step ahead of New Orleans.
The Pacers started softer than a beignet with extra powdered sugar, giving up a 4-point play on the first possession before falling behind 11-0.
Nate McMillan called a timeout after ceding the double-digit deficit and the Pacers scored on the ensuing possession, courtesy of a pair of Myles Turner free throws. Those two points started a 16-2 run in the Pacers favor before the Pels called time out.
From there the Pacers controlled much of the action for the rest of the half, and maintained a lead of varying sizes the rest of the game after falling behind just once at 17-16. Different guys stepped up at different points in the game and New Orleans kept a fast pace going with plenty of threes and shots of all types early in the shot clock.
While you may not think Domas Sabonis when you hear fast pace, the Pacers reserve took advantage of the excess shots and posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 13 minutes of first half action. After looking worn out and out of sync of late, Sabonis ended a streak of seven games without a double-double. Sabonis finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Thad Young came out strong after the half, four points and three rebounds to help push lead to 8 points in the first five minutes. Young took advantage of mismatches as the Pels didn’t have either the size to cover him up.
Darren Collison then picked up the baton for a four-point burst to keep the Pacers a few possessions ahead throughout the third quarter. Then turned it on a closing time.
The Pelicans were difficult to deal with (just ask the Lakers), despite the chaos surrounding the Anthony Davis situation and injuries to several other key players. Jahlil Okafor scored 25 points, but Jrue Holiday made the Pels go putting up 19 points, 9 assists and 11 rebounds he had to earn all night against some solid D by Cory Joseph.
Aaron Holiday was active off the bench and even had a chance to go at his big bro a couple of times. The Pacers rook finished with 8 points and 2 assists, but he will surely remind big bro about this bucket.
Aaron Holiday showing his big brother Jrue what he's been workin' on. pic.twitter.com/2MAQubG6dY— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 5, 2019
New Orleans won the rebound battle 55-43 and hauled in 13 ORebs many of which kept them hanging around for that late run at the win. But 17 turnovers helped level the advantage as the Pacers were able to score 15 points off of the donations.
The Pacers head home to face the other half of all of the off-court NBA news, with the Lakers and LeBron James waiting in Indy. How many teammates will be with LBJ tomorrow, only Woj knows, but the Pacers will have to dig deep after expending a lot of energy to close out the Pelicans.
At least the effort earned a W and the Pacers remain deadlocked with Boston and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference standings, all with records of 34-19.