The Indiana Pacers finally found a groove they could ride to all night, posting a (near!) wire-to-wire victory over the San Antonio Spurs to snap their four game losing streak. The Pacers put their mark on this game early, with Myles Turner scoring seven of his 12 first quarter points on a 12-0 run that broke an early 13-13 tie.
The Pacers piled it on in the quarter, scoring a season high 43, shooting 8-10 from three point range. It wasn’t just on the offensive end that the Pacers found a spark, their activity on defense was a big step up even though San Antonio had a solid offensive quarter on the whole, especially from Dejounte Murray.
While the shooting obviously helped matters, the ball movement did a good job opening things up. T.J. McConnell played his best game of the year so far (actually, that was a common refrain for a good portion of the team tonight), forcing turnovers and picking up some nice assists, including this beautiful flush to Caris LeVert for two.
The Spurs trimmed the deficit down to six early in the second quarter, but a strong response for the Pacers helped push things back into double figures, eventually swelling the lead to 22 at the break, capping off a season high 78 first half points on a buzzer beater from No. 22.
All told, the Pacers finished the first half not only with 78 points, but did so on 63% shooting, and a steady 12-21 from three point range. The ball movement was also rewarded, totaling 21 first half assists. That energy carried over into the third quarter, where they did the impossible: won the third quarter for the first time all season.
Hang the Banner— Caitlin Cooper (@C2_Cooper) November 2, 2021
Won the 3Q
The game wrapped up with a 35-22 fourth quarter win by the Spurs, but it was too little too late to change the outcome as the Pacers picked up their second win of the year in impressive fashion. In the end, Indiana shot 57.1% from the floor, 18-38 from three, and finished with 37 assists, all season highs.
Six Pacers reached double figures, led by Domantas Sabonis with 24. Sabonis completed a 24 point, 13 rebound double double, pulling in four offensive rebounds. Sabonis did a solid job helping out LeVert, who struggled tonight shooting, pulling in three of his misses, scoring on a pair to keep the offensive rolling. He shot 11-15 from the floor, bullying San Antonio in the paint all night, finishing with six assists.
LeVert hit some nice shots throughout the game, but was the lone starter under 50% shooting at 6-19 for 16 points. He did go 3-7 from three, however and dished out seven assists, taking over ball handling duties after McConnell picked up his third foul in the second quarter. McConnell meanwhile had his first double double of the year of 10 points and 10 assists, looking the most comfortable he has all year with not only passing, but defensively (three steals) and shooting (5-7, no three pointers taken).
Speaking of looking comfortable, Turner excelled tonight on both ends, scoring 19 points on 7-10 shooting with eight rebounds while blocking three shots and picking up two steals. All three of his misses came from three point range, helping the Pacers to 62 points in the paint. He also had his best night at the line, going 4-5.
Everyone’s success helped Chris Duarte settle into his best game since opening night, scoring 18 points on 6-11 shooting and 4-6 from three. Duarte has been called on to do a lot for the offense, but it was much less pronounced tonight with everyone playing so well in the starting lineup, making things that much easier for him to succeed.
Off the bench, the Pacers were without Jeremy Lamb, but got a strong night from Justin Holiday, who not only scored 17 points on 5-7 shooting from three, but also had two steals and a season high four assists. Kelan Martin made his season debut, scoring eight. Though the bench wasn’t as pronounced tonight outside of Holiday, Martin stepped in and immediately went to the line on and-one, returning the game to double figures after Drew Eubanks had completed an and-one to cut it to nine in the first.
Torrey Craig scored seven and Brad Wanamaker pitched in five (all at the end of the first to complete Indiana’s 43-point quarter), helping steady the bench unit against what wound up being four double figure scorers for the Spurs off the bench alone. Late minutes also favored Duane Washington Jr., who scored five on back-to-back buckets.
It was an encouraging sign tonight that the Pacers played with such urgency. With one more home game before eight of 10 on the road, it was imperative that they take care of business tonight. Bringing this type of energy will be key for that next home game, hosting the 5-2 New York Knicks, boasting one of the league’s best offenses.