INDIANAPOLIS – It seemed too good to be true for the Pacers on Wednesday night.
And it was.
Indiana had the week off and were getting the Warriors on the second night of the back-to-back, with a struggling night for Stephen curry thrown in there.
But the old nemesis of the Pacers on national television showed up again, with Indiana unable to execute down the stretch.
The Warriors did enough in the closing minutes to get out of Indianapolis with a 111-107 victory on Wednesday night.
Indiana’s lack of support for Domantas Sabonis (22 points) and Malcolm Brogdon (24 points) showed up again on Wednesday.
After a big second quarter, Sabonis and the Pacers couldn’t answer the Warriors loading of the paint, which held the Indiana big man to just two second half field goals inside the arc.
With the game having a back-and-forth feel throughout, the Pacers saw it get away with 7 turnovers in the final quarter, and tied a season-high with 19 turnovers for the game.
Curry struggled from the floor, going 7-of-21 (1-of-11 from 3) to score 24 points.
The Pacers have now lost 4 straight at home.
They will now hit the road for 4 consecutive games, starting with a Friday-Saturday back-to-back against the Celtics and Knicks
Three Things Learned
1. No Closing Help: One continued worry we have about the Pacers right now is the help around their two best players. With the Warriors fully committed in the second half to make someone not named Domantas Sabonis or Malcolm Brogdon beat them, Golden State’s plan worked perfectly. They packed the paint on Sabonis and attacked every Brogdon pick and roll. In turn, the Pacers had no counter (7 turnovers in the 4th quarter), especially down the stretch. As the season gets deeper, and the scouting becomes a bit easier for teams, the blueprint on the Pacers will be there. Nate Bjorkgren has to go back to the drawing board to find more options when things bog down. Or else, it’s wait for the return of Caris LeVert, hopefully sometime in March.
2. All-Star Snub: Despite averaging 21.5 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season, Domantas Sabonis was not chosen as one of the 7 Eastern Conference reserves for the All-Star game. This vote, done by the coaches, included players like Nikola Vucevic (23.9 points, 11.7 rebounds) and Julius Randle (23.3 points and 10.9 rebounds) making the team, two players on teams with a worse record than the Pacers. What is disappointing for Sabonis has to be that this voting was done by coaching staffs around the league, which see his effort and rare skill up close on a nightly basis. For the Pacers, they will now get a motivated/pissed off Sabonis and do save $1.3 million from an All-Star bonus. No All-Stars for the Pacers means they don’t have a player selected to the game for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
3. Second Half Schedule Announced: On Wednesday afternoon, the NBA announced their second half schedule for teams, which includes 37 games for the Pacers (10 back-to-backs). The Pacers will have a brutal stretch immediately after the All-Star break with 7 of 10 on the road (which was expected due to the NCAA Tournament), including games against the Lakers, Nuggets, Nets and Bucks. There’s one nationally televised game in the second half (Tuesday, April 13th vs. Clippers). So far, the Pacers are 16-14 this season (3 games have been postponed) with 5 games left until the All-Star break. They are currently the No. 4 seed in a very compacted Eastern Conference. The play-in games for teams 7-10 in each conference will take place May 18-21. And the first round of the playoffs will officially begin on May 22.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-@Celtics (Friday, 2-26, at 7:30 PM)
-@Knicks (Saturday, 3-1, at 8:00 PM)
-@76ers (Monday, 3-3, at 7:00 PM)
-@Cavaliers (Wednesday, 3-3, at 7:00 PM)
-Nuggets (Thursday, 3-4, at 8:00 PM)