Grades: Pacers keep their bread crumbs, starve Pelicans

The Indiana Pacers have now started a win streak as they have won two games in a row.

I don’t think this game could have been more stressful down the stretch, but the Indiana Pacers held on to get a win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Indiana Pacers
109
New Orleans Pelicans
107

My goodness, this game made me hold my breath so many time. The game was within 5 for essentially all of the last 5 minutes, and the Pelicans had a ton of good looks to make the game more interesting. They just didn’t fall. In the end, the Pacers pulled it out.

Darren Collison was a superhero tonight. This is a “you had to be there” moment. He had 22 points, which is pretty good, but it really felt like all 22 of them were just massive. They all stopped a run or were buzzer beaters in a shot clock, demoralizing shots for the opposing team. He was immensely clutch.

 

It was also great to see Domantas Sabonis finally get back on track. After struggling the last two games, he was great in this one, posting a double-double and hitting 7/9 shots from the field. The Pacers needed all of his contributions.

Perhaps my favorite moment of the game happened off the court. Jrue and Aaron Holiday were both playing, and their dad was on hand to watch. The Pelicans sideline reporter interviewed him during the game, and it was fantastic:

Welcome back, Domas.

In a two-point win, every basket is important. Domas finally returning to form and putting the ball in the basket was huge for the Pacers in this game.

13 rebounds were also a nice addition, and he had a double-double by halftime. He stepped up when it mattered. That’s what good players do.

Taking care of the ball

The Pacers won the turnover battle pretty handily, only coughing it up 9 times to the Pelicans 16. In a game that finished this close, that made a massive difference in the outcome of the game.

The Pacers forced the Pels into 9/38 shooting from 3 as well (well, they forced some of those misses at least). Combine that with the forced turnovers and you can see how well the Pacers perimeter D was in this one.

The battle of the Holiday brothers

Clearly, at this point in time, Jrue is better than Aaron Holiday. But tonight, they both shot the same percentage from the field. Jrue had more turnovers. So who is really better?

In all seriousness Jrue played a great game, he was just one assist shy of a triple-double. It’s always fun to see the family battles though, and it’s equally cool to see them exchange jerseys at the end.

Player and coaching grades:

DARREN COLLISON

PG, Indiana Pacers

A +

I cannot speak highly enough of DCs game tonight. All of his points felt so massive, and his 6 assists with 0 turnovers were just icing on the cake. He was fantastic.

CORY JOSEPH

PG, Indiana Pacers

B -

CoJo’s defense continues to make him the right man in the starting lineup. He held Jrue Holiday to 6/15 shooting. Joseph’s shot continue’s to not fall, but I was happy with his 5/5/4 stat line given his solid defense.

BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

SF, Indiana Pacers

C +

After carrying the offense in Miami, Bojan wasn’t quite as electric in this one. His 3 was falling which kept him efficient, though. 14 points on 12 shots were all he offered.

THADDEUS YOUNG

PF, Indiana Pacers

B +

14/5/4 for Thaddeus Young, which is the most Thad Young stat line of all time. He’s always so solid.

MYLES TURNER

C, Indiana Pacers

B

Finally, Turner led the team in shots. He missed a ton of open looks in this game though, was it was great that he got a chance to shine and be more of a focal point. 5/17 shooting isn’t ideal, but 9 rebounds and 3 blocks are fantastic.

DOMANTAS SABONIS

C, Indiana Pacers

A

Sabonis kept the second unit from being completely ineffective thanks to his 16 points and 13 rebounds. This is the guy that is a 6th Man of the Year candidate

EDMOND SUMNER

SG, Indiana Pacers

C -

Sumner’s offense is just so raw, and he looks very anxious when he is out there. His defense looks solid thanks to his length, but it almost looks like what he needs is someone to say “calm down”. He had 1 point, 1 rebound, and 1 assist in 15 minutes.

TYREKE EVANS

SG, Indiana Pacers

C -

An inefficient 9 points and 2 assists on 12 shots for Evans. If his defense was bad, he wouldn’t play. Hopefully, it’s just his back injury that is causing him to lose the good form he had been having since Christmas

TJ LEAF

PF, Indiana Pacers

C

Just 5 minutes for Leaf tonight, but he went 2/3 from the field and grabbed a rebound. He continues to be fine in his incredibly limited minutes.

AARON HOLIDAY

PG, Indiana Pacers

C +

8 points on 40 percent shooting for Holiday; his shot continues to be a struggle. I’m always happy when he has low turnovers though, and his defense has been adequate.

NATE MCMILLAN

Head Coach, Indiana Pacers

A

Nate did well with the rotation, and I enjoyed the shot distribution. His end of game management (fouling up 3, throwing the ball to the other end of the floor with 1.7 to go) were all great decisions too. He did well tonight, to the dismay of my twitter followers.
Next: How the Pacers could approach the trade deadline without Victor Oladipo

The Pacers play against some nobody named LeBron James tomorrow night as the Pacers welcome Lance Stephenson and the Lakers to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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