Post-Game Grades: Pacers win another close one, sweep series against Kings


The Indiana Pacers, in the midst of an exhausting West Coast road trip, survive Sacramento’s solid shooting night.

The Indiana Pacers took on the Sacramento Kings — 12th in the Western Conference — on Thursday night, likely looking for an easy W against a tanking squad without their leading scorer in Zach Randolph — that’s right, Z-Bo is the Kings’ leading scorer in 2018.

100. Final. 103. 84. 106

After one quarter, things were even at 28-28 despite Victor Oladipo’s 4-for-4 shooting. The second quarter was a continuation of that back-n-forthiness. The Kings were up as much as seven before an Indiana run gave the Pacers their own seven-point lead, but the Kings played with their lil’ Willie Cauley-Stein, who put up a frustrating 17 points on an unfathomable 8-for-9 shooting in the first half. The Kings were not going to give the Pacers a break.

The Pacers led most of the third quarter, but any separation forged by Indiana was typically answered by a timely Kings bucket or two. With the reserves in the game late in the third, Indiana began looking tired and frustrated, and the game was all tied up at 79-79 going into the final period.

Throughout the fourth, the Pacers continued to struggle to put the Kings away, but with three minutes remaining, the Pacers got their biggest lead of the game at eight points off a Bojan Bogdanovic breakaway dunk — the four sweetest words in the English language. The other Bogdanovic, 2018 Rising Stars MVP Bogdan, continued to play well in heavy minutes, but with just a minute remaining things looked good for Indiana. BUT…

The Pacers luckily had the best player on the floor — The Feathery One — and Dipo hit a dagger three to put Indiana up four…. Before Buddy Hield hit a three…. But wait, it was actually a two…. Quick foul and OUR Bogdanovic hit two free-throws… But oh no, THEIR Bogdanovic hits another three… Quick foul with Feathery at the line…. He’s too feathery to miss either, and thankfully a full-court heave from THEIR Bogdanonic misses.

And the Good Guys BARELY get the W in Sacramento. But a win is a win, and those Eastern Conference playoff standings aren’t gonna care that we struggled mightily to beat the tanking Kings.

The Good: The Pacers kept their turnovers down (10) while forcing the Kings cough up 18 of their own — without that discrepancy, the Pacers could’ve easily lost this one. All the starters stepped up tonight, and the team’s 18-for-20 night from the charity stripe was another major lifesaver.

The Bad: The bench. Domas Sabonis’ numbers look aight (eight points, eight boards), but his defensive farts are deadly, and there were a few plays tonight where he looked uninterested in playing basketball. Glenn Robinson III made a few nice plays, but struggled to finish at the rim and otherwise played like he’s missed most of the season.

MVP: The MVP has gotta be Dipo tonight. 9-for-14 shooting. A now-customary three steals to keep that streak alive (now at 59 games). One HIGHLIGHT block:

And the eventual dagger:


DARREN COLLISON. B+. Got himself into a little foul trouble but still played 30 minutes against his old squad. Eight points on 3-for-8 shooting, but a feathery THREE steals, and a wowza NINE dimes.. PG. Indiana Pacers

A. 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting, five boards, two dimes, three steals, that DISGUSTING block, just two turnovers, and the eventual game-winner. Typical All-NBA-worthy play from Vic.. SG. Indiana Pacers. VICTOR OLADIPO

A-. There can only be one Bagdonovic. 25 points on 7-for-13 shooting, a perfect 9-for-9 from the FT line, and finished with a game-high plus/minus of +16.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

THADDEUS YOUNG. B+. Swiss Army Thad. Thad finished with eight boards, a dime, a steal, and 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting. He may have missed two important free-throws at the end, but luckily for Thad, his teammates got his back.. PF. Indiana Pacers

C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER. B. Myles played 27 minutes tonight and finished with five assists, a steal, and two blocks, but the Pacers could have used more than his nine points and three rebounds tonight.

C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. C+. Eight points (4-for-6), eight boards, three assists for Domas off the bench. The numbers look good, but the numbers rarely tell the whole story with Domas.

C. Lance was Lance. Seven points on 3-for-7 shooting and two turnovers.. SG. Indiana Pacers. LANCE STEPHENSON

C. CoJo played 20 minutes and finished with a team-worst -13, but he played with some energy out there. Seven points on 3-for-7 shooting, though just 1-for-4 from deep. Three assists for good measure.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

PF. Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. TJ. TJ got four minutes of burn late in the first half. One rebound. Finished with a -6. Get well soon, Book.

GLENN ROBINSON III. C+. Held scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting, GRIII was still able to make a few valuable plays, finishing with a couple offensive rebounds and a steal. Hopefully he can step up his contributions come playoff time.. SF. Indiana Pacers

Next: Bojan's streaky shooting takes the Pacers on a wild ride

The Pacers are staying in California for a Sunday matinee against the Clippers. Catch it Sunday, April 1 (no fools) 3:30 pm ET.