Pacers turn the Pelicans into the Pelicants during big comeback win

The Indiana Pacers hadn’t won by 10+ after trailing by 20 since 2015. That streak ended tonight, as the Pelicans only played Anthony Davis in the first and third quarters and the Pacers rallied from 20 down to walk away with a 126-111 victory.

The beginning of this game looked all too familiar with Pacers fans. A random player started lighting the Pacers up in ways they don’t normally (hello 3 point shooting Julius Randle!), the team fell far behind, and the Pacers looked dispirited. Luckily, the 2nd unit wasn’t having any of it.

The entire 2nd unit finished between +9 and +18, as the reserves rallied back late in the 2nd quarter to cut the 20 point lead down to 13 at the half. Wes Matthews took over from there, putting up a ridiculous 3rd quarter. Matthews scored 15 in the frame, and would probably still be making 3’s now if he hadn’t caught a Thad Young elbow during a rebound and left with a bloody nose (he returned later and was fine).

 

New Orleans Pelicans
111
Indiana Pacers
126

Too many scorers, too many scorers

This was the Pacers 50th game – out of 59 – with 5 or more players scoring in double figures. Losing your team’s best player and offensive fulcrum is hard, but this team was perhaps better poised to handle the loss than most. Everybody eats.

Anthony Davis, even at this point, is really good

Anthony Davis is really, really good. He had 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and a block in just 20 minutes. The Pelicans absolutely cooked the Pacers in the first with AD in the game, but AD’s, uh, “minutes restriction” really helped the Pacers tonight.

Kyle O’Quinn is a luxury

Kyle O’Quinn is the Porsche of 5th bigs. O’Quinn stepped into the starting lineup with Turner missing the game due to a bruised hip, and finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds. The defense struggled in the first half, but Julius Randle also hit 3 straight 3 pointers. Some things can’t be helped. Not many 3rd string centers could come in and start a game competently. The Pacers know what they have in O’Quinn.

DARREN COLLISON

PG, Indiana Pacers

A-

10 points, 12 assists, and only 1 turnover. DC was very good offensively. He didn’t look great on the defensive end, but all in all, a very solid performance from the Pacers veteran point guard.

WESLEY MATTHEWS

SG, Indiana Pacers

A

WessyWes finished with a team high 24 points, and went 7-14 overall (including 6-11 from 3) and 4-5 from the line. The 2nd unit helped the Pacers come back in the 2nd quarter, but Wes led the game changing charge in the 3rd by scoring 15 points as he banding ridiculous 3 after ridiculous 3 home.

BOJAN BOGDANOVIC

SF, Indiana Pacers

B+

Bogey finished with 20 and 5 on 7-14 shooting. He looked to be in for a much bigger night, but was saddled with foul trouble throughout and only played 25 minutes.

THADDEUS YOUNG

PF, Indiana Pacers

B-

16 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals for Thad Young. Young was awesome in many aspects, but struggled to put the ball in the cup, finishing 6-18 and only 1-4 from deep. It seemed like many of his misses were bunnies that just didn’t fall – going up against Anthony Davis will do that to you.

KYLE O'QUINN

C, Indiana Pacers

B

8 points and 10 rebounds for KOQ’s first ever Pacers start. O’Quinn is such a luxury as a 5th big man, and he proved why again tonight. Nothing brilliant, but 20 solid minutes is much better than most teams could hope for from their 3rd center.

DOMANTAS SABONIS

C, Indiana Pacers

A-

Sabonis had a somehow quiet 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists. He dropped 2 straight buckets on Anthony Davis before the Pelicans sat him for “rest”. Coach Nate McMillan chose to keep the 2nd unit intact by leaving Sabonis as 6th man, and it looked a little awkward at times, but the Sabonis/Tyreke combo was cooking.

TYREKE EVANS

SG, Indiana Pacers

A

17 points on 9 shots. 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, only 1 turnover. Tyreke put up an awesome game when the Pacers needed him most. He was getting to the cup with ease, splashing step back 3’s, and had a random huge swat on defense. Very good Tyreke game.

CORY JOSEPH

PG, Indiana Pacers

B-

4 points, an assist and a rebound while finishing +9. The bench carried this game for the Pacers after the starters fell into a deep hole. CoJo didn’t do anything that popped on the box score, but he was crucial to the Pacers biggest comeback of the year.

DOUG MCDERMOTT

SF, Indiana Pacers

B-

McBuckets finished a team high +18, doing all his damage from the 3 point and the free throw line. The spacing he provides is invaluable

TJ LEAF

PF, Indiana Pacers

B-

Finished 2nd on the team with a + 14 in 14 minutes. Finished 0-3 from the field, but he rebounded, had a couple of good defensive possessions, and was fine while he was out there. “Fine” is perfectly acceptable for your 10th man.

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The Pacers next game is 2/23 at the Washington Wizards, at 7 PM EST.