A brief glimmer of hope went by the wayside for the Indiana Pacers when Myles Turner picked up his second foul halfway through the first quarter. Turner had six points and the Pacers led 16-6, enjoying a 12-0 run at the time. Suddenly, the size of the New Orleans Pelicans started to feast. Before the Pacers had a chance to blink, the Pelicans closed the first quarter on an 18-2 run, taking the lead and never looking back.
Rebounding was an issue, but so too were turnovers. Fouls and free throw differential were also a problem. Add in a plethora of missed shots and a complete shutout in 50/50 possessions and it’s no wonder the scoreboard read 57-38 at halftime, the Pacers scoring a season low in the first half, giving up a 15-0 early in the second to blow the game wide open.
Even the minimal success the Pacers had to end the half mattered not when a Turner turnover to start the third immediately turned into two points for New Orleans. The Pelicans then began to connect on their three pointers after a poor first half from deep, putting the game well out of reach the rest of the way.
New Orleans was better in every facet of the game tonight, so perhaps it was always going to turn even had Turner not picked up his second foul (one that could’ve easily been attributed to Andrew Nembhard), but there’s no doubt that was at least an accelerator. Suddenly, the Pelicans had no resistance on the glass and that led to an endless stream of scoring opportunities, all while holding the Pacers to one and done possessions.
The Pacers were outrebounded 16-6 on the offensive glass, getting outscored 26-8, both offensive boards prior to the fourth quarter coming courtesy of Aaron Nesmith, who at least provided some energy in his return to action, scoring 10 with five rebounds. Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson combined for one rebound and the bench as a whole was a complete nonfactor in the first half, which was a bit of an issue when Turner was mostly the lone bright spot for the starters, scoring 14 points with eight rebounds and two blocks.
Both Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield reached double figures with 12 each, but it was a tough night for both players. Hield actually shot well from three point range (4-7), but his ability to make an impact was severely limited, similar to Haliburton’s night as a whole. He and Nembhard combined for six turnovers, eventually leading to 19 points off turnovers for the Pelicans.
Of the garbage time highlights, which included Terry Taylor getting an offensive rebound and layup, there were some positives with Bennedict Mathurin, showing flashes of his early season success by getting himself to the line. Mathurin took all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter, singlehandedly closing a pretty sizeable free throw gap, ultimately finishing with a team high 15 points.
If there is a definitive positive to take from this game, it’s that the Pacers play again tomorrow night, returning home to host the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks will enter having won three of four in what’s been an up-and-down season for the recent Eastern Conference Finalists. The winner will also take sole possession of seventh place in the East.