Game #59 Recap: Pacers Kick Off a Killer March with a Win

In desperate need of a win to hold on to their current, but tenuous, playoff position, the Pacers simply got the job done. Indiana got off to a quick start. Darren Collison was given an early seat after earning two fouls, but great ball movement led to Pacer assists on their first 6 baskets before Lance Stephenson finally knocked down an open jumper in isolation after an Iverson-esque crossover.

Unfortunately for Indiana, after they got out to comfortable lead in the second quarter, the Warriors surged. Golden States turned a double-digit deficit into a 9-point advantage with a 21-1 run before Brandon Rush hit a three to end an Indiana drought that seemingly started during the Cretaceous Period. Overall, Rush played a solid game with a few much-needed shots and well-timed defensive plays when his team needed it most.

When they had a chance to pull away early, the Pacers’ performance throughout the middle of the game was like Stephen Curry’s beard: something was just missing. But just when it looked like we might see a meltdown, the Pacers righted the ship in the third quarter. After going into the locker room down 3, the Pacers outscored the Warriors 37-25 in the period and were in control, entering the fourth with a 9-point lead.

A flurry of Fancy Paul George Moments (hereafter referred to as FPGMs) helped to keep the Warriors at bay despite a barrage of long-range jumpers, and the Pacers relied again on their stars to anchor. Danny Granger accounted for 10 points in the final five minutes, including going 8-for-8 from the stripe. (For the game, he was a super-impressive 16/16 from the line. This was his first time getting to the line 16 times since January 3, 2009.)

Golden State kept shooting, but when the NBA’s leading three-point shooter, Dorell Wright, missed a three, the game was over.

Coming off consecutive losses and staring down a three-game Texas road trip (OKC counts as Texas just as Canada counts as part of the United States), Indiana desperately needed a win. It’s been four seasons since the Pacers made the playoffs.

The road back will require many nights of just getting the job done. That’s what happened tonight and it should put the players in a much better frame of mind as they head out of the road — where they play 11 of their next 15 games.

Other thoughts

  • Most people in Indiana remember Golden State head coach Keith Smart for his game-winning shot in the 1987 NCAA title game, but I was a fetus then. I’ll never forget the legendary day in Fort Wayne when he became the CBA’s all-time leading scorer
  • Say what you will about his legal missteps or the graduation rate of his college choice, but no one gets in the lane and misses a point-blank shot quicker than Lance Stephenson.

Tags: Danny Granger Dorrell Wright Game Recap Golden State Warriors Lance Stephenson Paul George Stephen Curry

  • kester

    The Pacers offense is too easily flustered at this point. I felt that putting Lance in led to a loss of focus. The new piece threw off the chemistry. Against Golden State that proved to be a recoverable error. It won’t be against the next three opponents. I think we need to go with the units that have at least a bit of experience working together when we go up against OKC.

    Also, OK, there you go again making disparaging references to what is arguably the greatest nation north of the United States. As a fake Canadian, I would like to register my false indignation at this….indignity, eh.

  • @Pacers_Chants

    Agree with kester, Lance Stephenson probably shouldn’t see the court on this road trip.

    Not that he’s looked terribly inadequate the last two games, but be real. Too little polish to throw him out there against the Jason Kidds and Russell Westbrooks of the world, not to mention the Mavericks’ and Thunder’s defenses as entire units.

    The Pacers are touring league powers. No time for experiments and wetting feet.

  • boombaby

    Xavier grad, Ronald?