With injuries suddenly biting the Indiana Pacers, they would have to gut out a W against the Golden State Warriors to guarantee a winning record on their lengthy road trip. They did just that, posting their best offensive outing of the season, all in the midst of a shooting barrage from Golden State.
The Warriors blitzed the Pacers out of the gate, hitting seven of their first eight shots to build a 19-10 lead. Indiana responded 19-3, including 13 straight, to jump ahead for good, the Warriors just making one shot before a pair of threes helped them close the gap to five at the end of the quarter.
D’Angelo Russell hit back-to-back threes early in the second to make it a 40-38 Pacers lead, but Doug McDermott responded with eight points of his own, pushing the lead to double figures for the first time all night. The Pacers would go ahead by as many as 19 in the first half, but struggled to capitalize on stops in the second, making it a 67-51 lead at the break.
That inability to to push the lead even into the third quarter allowed the Warriors to shoot themselves back into the game. They hit seven threes in the quarter, cutting a 21-point deficit to four behind the scorching play from Russell. Aaron Holiday responded, hitting back to back threes to give the Pacers some much needed breathing room, eventually going back up 15 on a 17-2 run.
Unfortunately, they surrendered an Alec Burks three to end the quarter, setting up a fourth quarter in which the Warriors would continue to hammer home the three point shot. Golden State cut the lead to six twice in the quarter, but each time the Warriors pressed, Indiana responded, again going to A. Holiday for a key triple with 3:02 on the clock.
T.J. Warren would sink the dagger a minute later, completing both the win and a 33-point night. Warren was there in all four quarters, shooting 14-23, hitting three threes, tying a season high. Warren also had four steals, a block, and a pair of assists on a night when Indiana filled up the stat sheet while contending with a Warriors offense that looked more like years past rather than their current iteration.
Warren wasn’t adverse to bad shots despite most of them going in. He missed four consecutive shots to end the second, which in turn led to the Warriors gaining some momentum heading into the break. Even still, he was in unique form, as evidenced by this key third quarter take against three defenders.
While the Warriors hit 19 threes, the Pacers actually shot better from deep, going a wildly efficient 17-28. Twelve of those makes came off the bench, including six from McDermott, who was just secondary scorer the Pacers needed tonight, scoring 24 points on a lights out 9-10 shooting. Each of McDermott’s three fourth quarter threes came with Indiana up 10, extending their lead to 13 each time, wildly necessary given Golden State’s propensity to climb back in the game.
A. Holiday had four threes himself, all coming, similar to McDermott, at crucial points in the game where Indiana needed a response to keep their lead at at least arm’s length. He also had a perfect game passing the ball, dishing seven assists to zero turnovers. Four of those assists led to three pointers, including one of Justin Holiday’s two.
T.J. McConnell started in place of Malcolm Brogdon, out with a concussion, dishing eight assists to five different Pacers, scoring 12 himself. Domantas Sabonis also had eight, his final three to McDermott, Holiday, and Warren on threes. Sabonis finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, piecing together a solid outing after struggling early.
Jeremy Lamb came out of his recent struggles, scoring 16 points on 7-9 shooting, including 2-3 from deep. His four assists led to four different Pacers scoring points, including two to Myles Turner, who had six and eight, featuring a big time jam in the first quarter.
Being able to largely balance out the three point difference opened up the game for the Pacers elsewhere, including off of turnovers. Indiana topped the Warriors 20-12 in turnovers, outscoring them 33-11, which helped them to double up Golden State in the paint 56-28. Not only was the 129 a season high, but so too was their 35 assists, 15 steals, and 60.7% three point percentage. Their 56.8% shooting night was just 0.4% shy of a season high as well.
The Pacers secure their 30th win tonight, actually a game slower than last season. They improve to 6-1 in their last seven on the road, 8-2 in their last 10, and give themselves a one game cushion over Philadelphia in the 5th seed. They’ll be there when they tip off against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night, wrapping up their road trip at a place they haven’t won at since 2007.