In one of the most lopsided games in league history, the Indiana Pacers set a franchise record for points in a game (152), outscoring the Oklahoma City Thunder by 57 to move back into the win column. The Pacers scored the first eight points of the game and never looked back, slowly ticking their lead up and up and up, peaking at 67 late in the fourth.
The 67-point lead with 4:12 remaining was the largest in the last 25 years. The Pacers very nearly ran away with franchise records in shooting, assists, and margin of victory, but a 10-0 Oklahoma City run, featuring three Indiana misses and three Indiana turnovers halted the progress. Cassius Stanley did hit a three with 44 seconds to set the points record and give Indiana a new franchise best in made three-pointers at 21.
For the game, the Pacers shot 65.5%, going a staggering 57-87 from the floor and 21-33 from three. They had 41 assists to go with all of that, again falling short of the high mark of 45. The Pacers appeared energized by the return of Domantas Sabonis, but his first half triple double only highlighted how flat out bad the Thunder are trying to be.
Sabonis scored or assisted on the first 14 points of the night for the Pacers as they jumped at 14-4. He finished the quarter with eight points, seven rebounds, and eight assists, getting to 22-11-11 at half and finishing the night with 26-19-14 on 10-13 shooting. Sabonis had some rust in the form of turnovers, and though it was a bit better with him in the game, the rebounding as a whole was a bit suspect considering the Thunder missed almost as many shots as the Pacers took tonight.
For a game that was this one-sided, it’s shocking that the Pacers still had real struggles in turnovers and rebounding. They lost the turnover battle 17-14 and were thoroughly outworked on the offensive glass to the tune of 21-3, nearly allowing the Thunder to come away with the win in rebounding. With Sabonis the only true big in the regular rotation, the lack of size without him allowed the Thunder to pull in second chance opportunities for their continuous misfires. The Thunder outscored Indiana 22-4 off of those offensive boards, but the Pacers did come out ahead 20-14 in points off turnovers, totaling 22 points in transition.
Doug McDermott led the Pacers with 31 points, going 11-14 from the floor and 6-8 from three point range. He connected on his first four in the first quarter, as the Pacers shot 7-10 from deep as a team. Six of Sabonis’s first half assists went to McDermott as their connection thrived against the Thunder.
The success spread like wildfire as four of the five starters hit multiple threes, including a 4-6 night from Caris LeVert. LeVert continues to trend in the right direction in three point shooting, finishing with 25, but also getting others involved with six assists, all coming in a 12-minute stretch in the second and third as the Pacers pushed their lead to 63.
Off the bench, Aaron Holiday had one of his best showings as a playmaker, dishing six assists of his own to go with 12 points, including a trio of alley oops in the fourth, finding Stanley on a 44 worthy dunk.
judges will prob give this a 44 too pic.twitter.com/iHInF0pz5x— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 2, 2021
Justin Holiday and Oshae Brissett also shot well, combining for six made threes with Holiday connecting on all three of his attempts. Brissett scored 16, getting a double double with 13 rebounds. He also led the team with four blocks, bringing his block total up to 12 in the last three games.
The lone downside of the night came with Edmond Sumner leaving early with a sore left knee. Though Sumner was a go after banging his knee with Kevin Durant on Thursday, he was not his same explosive self in the 12 minutes he did play. He was still effective, however, scoring eight of his 10 in the opening five and a half minutes.
Tonight’s game may have fallen short of the franchise setting 65-point win from 1998, but it did end up being the largest margin of victory for a regular season road game in league history. It also featured some other near records, from a (brief) +59 +/- for Brissett to a 77.6% effective FG%.
The win gives Indiana their 30th of the year, completing the season series sweep of Oklahoma City and giving them a leg up on their two game road trip that concludes on Monday in DC against the Washington Wizards. The Pacers currently hold a one game advantage over Washington for 9th with two games remaining against a team that’s won 12 of their last 14 games.