Pacers get smoked in their Hickories


The Indiana Pacers started off strong but a horrible second half caused them to fall to the 76ers.

For a while, it looked like the Indiana Pacers were going to beat the Philadephia 76ers in Sunday’s matinee showdown. Then, one of the worst second halves of the season happens and the Pacers got clobbered.

Final. 89. 100. 106. 93

The Pacers were winning 59-51 at halftime. They scored 34 points in the second quarter and the team was humming heading into halftime.

They, they only scored 30 in the entire second half, fewer than the total they had in the second quarter. It was ugly. Nothing was going in. Every shot was short. Every play was thwarted. Every pass felt slower. It was an ugly 24 minutes.

And now, the Pacers lose the tiebreaker to the 76ers, meaning that if the teams finish with the same record, Philly gets the better playoff seed. It was a game with massive implications, and the Pacers came out flat in the second half.

Only two Pacers shot over 50 percent from the field, and it was Kyle O’Quinn and Doug McDermott, who both don’t put up a high volume of shots. Indiana’s usual offensive contributors pretty much all couldn’t get it going, and the Pacers dropped the game.

Perhaps my favorite highlight from a game that featured few was Cory Joseph putting James Ennis in a spin cycle:

Make your free throws, guys.

The Pacers lost by 17. The Pacers missed 15 free throws.

I’m not normally a reductive guy, but that was a HUGE part of the game today. The Pacers did well to get to the line in a game that featured many whistles; they got up 37 free throws attempts. But they only made 22, with Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, and Domantas Sabonis combining for 12 misses. It was brutal.

Speaking of missing…

The free throws were more obvious, but after a solid shooting first half, the Pacers finished the game with 37.3 percent shooting from the field. That’s how bad they were in the second half offensively. Credit the Sixers defense, but the number of close-range misses the Pacers had was startling.

Joel Embiid: very good player.

Joel Embiid returned from injury in this game and was… incredible. He had 33 points and 12 rebounds in just 27 minutes, and his defense was awesome. This guy is a beast who gives Myles Turner fits. He ate Indiana alive today.

Player grades:

D +. 5/11 shooting and 3/7 from the line for Collison. Obviously, all the misses limit the number of assists he can have, but 2 just isn’t enough. And Simmons is a horrible matchup for him. He was ineffective.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON

WESLEY MATTHEWS. C -. 5 points and 4 rebounds. A lot of the time, it hardly felt like he was on the court at all. I barely noticed him.. SG. Indiana Pacers

BOJAN BOGDANOVIC. B -. Bogey had a great first half and a very rough second half. His 18 points led the team but 37.5 percent shooting wasn’t enough.. SF. Indiana Pacers

PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG. C -. A rare just bad game for Thad, who I found to be ineffective. He missed a ton of bunnies in this one, though he did rebound well.

Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER. D +. 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 5 fouls. Embiid ate his lunch and his offense didn’t make up for it.. C

Obvious Sabonis gets a pass since he has been banged up, but his 1/7 from the field still wasn’t good. He did lead the team with 6 assists, but also had 5 turnovers and 4 fouls. He wasn’t great in his return.. C. Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. D +

C +. Cory Joseph worked his butt off guarding JJ Redick, but his offensive wasn’t high. He was slightly better than fine.. PG. Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH

B. 10 points on 4/6 shooting for McDermott, who was one of few players who did their job well in this game.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DOUG MCDERMOTT

B -. 3 fouls in 7 minutes aren’t ideal, but with both Domas and Myles in foul trouble, O’Quinn had to soak up some minutes and did a fine job outside of the fouls.. C. Indiana Pacers. KYLE O'QUINN

PF. Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF. D +. Leaf blocked Embiid which was cool, but there isn’t a good matchup for him on Philly and with Sabonis back it was hard to get him on the floor. 1/4 shooting needs to be better.

Holiday looked comfortable in his 8 minutes of playing time, which he received with Tyreke Evans out. He canned a 3 and played adequate defense.. PG. Indiana Pacers. AARON HOLIDAY. B -

Indiana Pacers. EDMOND SUMNER. -. One minute, no stats for Sumner in garbage time.. SG

-. Like Sumner, Reed just played garbage time and didn’t get a chance to do anything.. SG. Indiana Pacers. DAVON REED

Tough to manage a rotation when a team was in as much foul trouble as the Pacers were tonight, but I thought Nate did well. Tough to coach a team that can’t make anything. Offensive gameplan against switches remains lackluster.. Head Coach. Indiana Pacers. NATE MCMILLAN. B

Next. 8P9S NBA Mock Draft 1.0: With the 26th pick, the Indiana Pacers select…. dark

The Pacers take on the Knicks at home on Tuesday in a game they absolutely must win.