Grades: Indiana Pacers turn Sacramento Kings into peasants


Once again, the Indiana Pacers overcame the inherent difficulties of playing a back-to-back and pulled out a win over the young, scrappy Kings.

Orlando and Indianapolis are 823.19 miles apart from each other. That was the distance the Indiana Pacers traveled last night in order to make it back home to take on the “currently a playoff team” Sacramento Kings, who narrowly defeated the Pacers the last time the two teams met. Despite a now hilariously predictable bad start, the Pacers rallied back once again and came out victorious in the end.

107. 100. Final. 97. 84

Take that, back-to-back

The Pacers are now a ridiculous 5-0 on Night Two of back-to-backs so far this season. That’s almost unheard of, as tired legs typically lead to complications for teams when they play two games so close together. The fact that Indiana is undefeated so far in these games really speaks to the team’s heart, as well as their conditioning.

Hustle, hustle, hustle

Despite being down big in the first quarter, the Pacers clawed themselves back into this game by halftime. The third quarter was kind of a slog for both teams, but the Pacers really kicked it into gear towards the end of the game. The Kings are one of the fastest teams in the league this season, but the Pacers simply out-hustled the Kings down the stretch. The Pacers were scrapping for offensive rebounds, leading blistering fastbreaks, and deflecting passes at the most opportune moments, which led to a win tonight.

Stopping the bleeding

To put it bluntly, Buddy Hield was absolutely torching the Pacers from everywhere early on in this game. He had 15 points in the first half and looked like he was primed for a huge second half that would’ve made this game a lot trickier for the Pacers to win. Thankfully, the team adjusted at halftime and was able to collectively limit Hield to just 5 points in the second half. It was a true team effort to limit the hot hand and turn the tide late in the game.

B+. Collison had some great hustle plays to keep possessions alive, drew some fouls, hit a couple threes, and got other guys involved without turning the ball over once. His 11 points in the first half were highlighted by a buzzer beater to give Indiana the advantage going into the third quarter. Good game from Darren.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

Indiana Pacers. TYREKE EVANS. B-. Tyreke got burned over and over by Buddy Hield in the first quarter, but he was able to counter by hitting on some drives and rolling in a nice stepback triple. He also had 2 bad turnovers, but added value elsewhere with 3 offensive boards and a couple of deflections leading to steals. Tyreke doesn’t always make the best decisions out there, but his shot creation adds value when he’s hitting.. SG

Not Bojan’s greatest display of shooting ever, but it was solid enough. Bojan is absolutely everywhere on the court lately; shooting threes, cutting to the hoop, creating for others, and just always staying active. He also added a rare fastbreak dunk that punctuated the tone of the second half.  7-7 from the free throw line was huge as well.. SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC. B

A. Arguably Thad’s best game of the season. He was extremely active on defense and had several deflections that led to turnovers or broken plays. From inside the paint, he had several STRONG moves that led to him putting up a season high 20 points. He hustled like crazy and had 2 old school 3 point plays on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter. He would’ve gotten an A+ if not for the 4 turnovers.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG

Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER. B+. Myles battled back and forth with Willie Cauley-Stein for most of the night. They altered and blocked each other’s shots and fought each other for rebounds. Turner scrapped his way to a crazy 10 rebounds in the first half and finished with 13 overall. He also had a nasty dunk and added 4 blocks. A couple of butterfinger moments led to some mishandled possessions and turnovers, but a good night for the young center overall.. C

B+. The definitive moment in each young prospect’s career where you eat some bad shrimp and play through the remnants of nasty food poisoning. Domas clearly wasn’t feeling great in the first quarter, but he overcame his illness to have a great night, all things considered. He had a signature monster dunk, as well as several absolutely gorgeous buckets in the post. He hustled all night despite clearly being under the weather.. C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS

Cory had a rough time in the first quarter and picked up two quick fouls. However, after that, he was just awesome. He did a great job finding guys out of the pick and roll and had his typical efficient night, finishing with 11 points, 5 boards, 8 assists, a block, and an impressive strip steal on Bjelica that led to a Bogey dunk on the fastbreak. Joseph showed once again that he’s one of the best backup point guards in the league.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH. A

It was a slow start for Doug, but he really turned it on in the second half where he scored all 10 of his points. He had a big dunk followed by two crucial back-to-back threes. Games always turn out better when Doug is involved.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DOUG MCDERMOTT. B

Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. C-. TJ only got on the court for a couple of minutes in the second quarter and seemed to be a bit bullied by Marvin Bagley. He was able to drive to the hoop and earn a couple of free throws, but that’s all we got out of Leaf tonight.. PF

PG. Indiana Pacers. AARON HOLIDAY. C. Holiday had some rookie moments tonight, including a couple of ill-advised drives to the hoop against known shot blockers, as well as a couple of bad fouls. However, he continues to look comfortable and confident beyond his years. He’s looking to score off of screens whenever he has the ball and is going to develop into an assassin.

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The Pacers are back in action on Monday night for game two of their three-game homestand and will welcome the Washington Wizards to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.