The Pacers are now 20-17 as they continue to stack quality wins despite tipping off the games as underdogs. The Pacers started strong, leading 32-22 after the first quarter as Buddy Hield did what he does, making a trio of three balls to score 12 early points.
The Clips were able to cut the lead down to seven at the half, lead by 17 early points from Paul George. The former Pacers front man heard a smattering of boos early which rose in volume as the game went on and his impact was felt. PG finished the game with a meaningless three pointer for 45 points, but the other 42 points were plenty meaningful.
The Clippers were at full strength with Kawhi Leonard and PG’s running mate was fully engaged while trying to understand how Andrew Nembhard was giving him so many problems early in the game. Kawhi adjusted and finished with 24 points, but his three pointer to try to tie bounced off the rim to Tyrese Haliburton to essentially give the Pacers the W. Not sure where PG was on the shot, but the Pacers were fortunate the right guy shot it at the right time. Similar to a possession earlier when Marcus Morris shot and missed a 3 ball.
So, we’ve established that the Clips, a team that entered the game 11-4 with Kawhi playing, had their stars playing at full throttle. Yet, it wasn’t enough as the Pacers traded haymakers for 48 minutes with Myles Turner doing tons of damage around the rim and finishing with 34 points, including 10 for 10 at the free throw line.
Speaking of damage, Tyrese Haliburton rose up and did the bulk of his damage in winning time, staring down PG and Kawhi and delivering a finishing flourish that left him with 24 points, 10 assists and 4 steals on the night. But those numbers don’t do justice to the show Hali put on in the fourth quarter when he scored 18 of his 24 points and managed nearly every big possession down the stretch to deliver a sweet W for the Pacers.
Much like PG, Haliburton made it look easy in front of a Fieldhouse crowd that enjoyed every second.
- Andrew Nembhard dealt admirably with Kawhi Leonard much of the night, even when he was dealt a couple of weak ‘star’ fouls as Kawhi worked to initiate contact. Eventually, Kawhi would work his way inside to shoot over Nemhbard or other defenders, but the Pacers forced him to expend some serious effort along the way (which to his credit, Kawhi did).
- Aaron Nesmith had another strong offensive game with 16 points playing in a touch spot, trying to guard Paul George. PG was in all-pro form hitting shots from all over the court and when he rises up on the perimeter, there is no defense available to stop him.
- Again, to those last two notes — the Clips threw an elite effort by Kawhi and PG at the Pacers and had to leave with the L. Great stuff.
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