The Pacers really didn’t deserve to beat the Warriors. They really earned their fourth home loss of the season, falling 98-96 in The Fieldhouse. This is because they gave us so many points in the paint early (24 in the first half) and let Golden State get off too many open looks from behind the arc (where they shot 10-for-20).
Overall, Indiana played a bit lethargic and let its opponent set the tone and pace, which is odd to see during a game in Indianapolis even against a good team that has a tendency to play their style against anyone. On the other hand, this wasn’t just the Pacers playing bad; let’s be sure to recognize that Steph Curry had it going early and the Warriors were executing well and forcing the action for most of the night.
Still, the Pacers did show something tonight.
They clamped down — and then some — in the final six minutes, mounting a 12-0 run that ostensibly erased everything that had happened previously. It all started where Indiana should have looked more often: inside. David West and Roy Hibbert traded buckets on one end, and then West one-upped the lock-down defense Indiana had started to unveil by ripping the ball from Steph Curry and taking it all the way to the house for a grown-man dunk.
They Warriors’ lead was down to 6 and it would soon hit zero.
We had a game and an enthralled, energized Fieldhouse.
By the time the clock dwindled to 0:46, the Pacers had a chance to take the lead. Unfortunately, they ran one of the worst plays I’ve ever seen, just dawdling around the top of the key without purpose and handling the ball off to one another with even less reason. I’m not sure what they called this one in the huddle, but Bucket Brigade should be it’s name. The ball never got past the three-point line, and the awful possession ended in a contested, step-back Paul George three-pointer. It’s hard to overstate how bad this was.
Just look at this slop.
Still, the game remained tied, and Indiana had it’s defense to lean on.
Unfortunately, Klay Thompson cared not.
He caught the ball on the right side, backed down George Hill, spun baseline, and hit a beautiful turnaround fadeaway that the smaller Hill was powerless to contest. All net.
(Thompson did leave 0.6 seconds on the clock, which was nearly enough time for Paul George to hit a long, desperation three, but it just barely went long and clanged off the back iron.)
It would be fun to say that these two plays decided the game. Obviously, they were the two biggest possessions in the 48 minutes during which the teams battled. But, ya know, there were also those first 42 minutes.
And those matter, too.
It was nice for Indiana that they dug down and erased a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit and it was probably even nicer for Klay that he got to bury the Pacers with a game-winner, but the Pacers got lucky by even getting this close.
Hopefully that is a lesson that will carry over the next time they think about going through the motions for the first two quarters.
Tags: Casheous Klay