A week off didn’t help the late game execution much for the Indiana Pacers as they stumbled down the stretch in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. The Pacers trailed by one with 4:36 remaining, only to have the deficit ballooned up to seven three minutes later. In that stretch, the Pacers were 0-3 from three with three turnovers, accentuating two of their biggest struggles on the night in a tough home loss.
In fact, neither team was good with three pointers or ball control, combining for 12-55 from three and a total of 37 miscues. It became the little things that helped Golden State come out in top, partially due to 66 points in the paint, but also to a 23-12 advantage in points off turnovers, the former a 12-8 win for the Warriors in the fourth in what would end up a four-point game.
All night, the Pacers struggled to take advantage of their positive stretches, the high water mark coming to start the third when Justin Holiday and Malcolm Brogdon scored five to give Indiana a seven-point lead. Within a minute though, it was back down to one and they couldn’t get back into an offensive rhythm, scoring just 22 points in the third quarter, eventually trailing by four.
It was the second 22-point quarter of the night for the Pacers, in what was something of a defensive slugfest on both ends, so much so that Indiana’s 36-point second quarter, fueled by a big period from Domantas Sabonis, could’ve made the difference had the three point shooting not been so poor.
The missed three pointers, 22 in total, took its toll in dragging down the assist numbers. The Pacers finished with just 20 on 37 makes, their second worst outing of the season and dropping them to 2-8 when they have less than 25 assists in a game. Malcolm Brogdon had just three, his season low and while T.J. McConnell did have six, he had all six of their bench assists.
Unfortunately, Indiana’s interior defense was lacking despite a rather solid outing in limiting the effectiveness of Stephen Curry, the traps up top allowing the Warriors to feast inside. They were also a touch better at the line in a game that had 63 combined free throws, outscoring Indiana by two on one less attempt as the Pacers missed six.
Sabonis took 12 of those attempts, making eight. He had 22 points and 16 rebounds on the night, but had just five after the break. Malcolm Brogdon had 24 on a solid 10-20 shooting, but was 0-4 from deep and had his first negative assist/turnover ratio of the year, committing four turnovers.
Myles Turner had 14 points and eight rebounds, rebounding exceptionally well in the third quarter, but his touch shooting the ball just wasn’t there, going 4-13 and 1-5 from deep, though he did go a perfect 5-5 from deep. He and Sabonis also combined for nine fouls.
Off the bench, McConnell breathed plenty of life into an anemic offense, scoring twice off of two inbound steals, totaling four steals on the night and scoring nine.
Jeremy Lamb had nine points and Aaron Holiday pitched in six, but the Pacers felt the difference in bench scoring, allowing the Warriors to top them 39-26, including 13 from Eric Paschall, who played big minutes late for Golden State.
The loss, not a particularly good one, really just kind of shows where Indiana is at as a team right now: good enough to be in a game late, but not good enough to win them with any sort of consistency. While Brogdon and Sabonis have come through for Indiana in a number of games this season, there is a level of help they generally require to push them over the top, and it just wasn’t present in this one.
Tonight’s loss also drops Indiana to 7-10 at home, threatening their 32-year home winning streak, but also making things more difficult for their road games, in which seven of their next eight will be. That will begin with a four game road trip, starting against the Boston Celtics on Friday night.