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Pacers pound Spurs for Rick Carlisle's 900th win
The Pacers scored early and often to bury the Spurs and Victor Wembanyama in their annual visit to the Fieldhouse.
The Pacers had no problems delivering a consistent effort for the full game on Monday night, although they really just needed about two and half quarters before the Spurs were done in the 152-111 win for the Pacers.
The W was win No. 900 for Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, earning him a hearty congratulations from Gregg Popovich on the court after the game despite the Spurs coach’s frustration with the outcome. With rookie Victor Wembanyama making his only visit to Indy, the Fieldhouse was rocking for a November Monday night. Made for a festive atmosphere which the team took to the locker room to celebrate their coach’s milestone dub.
The 152 points for the Pacers was also noteworthy as the team total tied the NBA franchise record for most points in a game. TJ McConnell pulled held the ball with 30 seconds, which Carlisle appreciated, instead of going for the record. As Carlisle mentioned after the game, that record will be broken as will many across the league with the way games are played now.
The Pacers scored 86 first-half points but the physicality on the defensive end set the tone. The plan certainly appeared to be to make Wembanyama feel the Pacers front court players. The home team was more physical forceful from the tip, when Myles Turner was quicker off the floor and won the tip against his 7’5 counterpart.
“We wanted to keep force in the game on him (Wemby),” Carlisle said. “Both vertical force, with running, as well as, as much horizontal force, not allow his center of gravity to get by us.”
The Pacers had the advantage of catching the Spurs after a tough OT loss on Sunday and they took advantage. Obi Toppin in particular showed up well on the defensive end, even while dealing with Wemby.
He joked about thinking he could block Wemby a couple of times, but just not being able to get that high. The rook had a modest double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Most impressive were his three pointers which while contested, weren’t really as Toppin found out.
Toppin had a solid all around effort with a season high 19 points at the offensive end. The Pacers were able to get out in transition, outscoring the Spurs 34-15 in fast break points, no two sweeter than Obi’s break away flying finish. He rated the dunk a 5.
Tyrese Haliburton finished with 23 points and 8 assists, super charging the Pacers in the first half with 20 points. Hali was aggressive in the face of 6’8 Jeremy Sochan trying to guard him all over the court. It didn’t take long into the first quarter for Sochan to pick up two fouls and head to the bench.
But the play of the game and exclamation point on the Pacers’ effort to attack Wemby was when Isaiah Jackson rotated over to deny a dunk attempt by the Spurs rook, sending the ball the other way where Buddy Hield knocked down a three-pointer. The play was simply stunning.
IJax was added to the rotation after Turner and Jalen Smith were saddled with foul trouble. The 24 fouls was far too many for the Pacers, but the bigs’ effort to set a physical tone against the slight Wembanyama was worth working an extra big into the mix.
The Pacers move to 4-3 with a home back-to-back against Utah and Milwaukee starting on Wednesday against the Jazz.
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