Pacers win in clutch fashion in PGs return


Paul George took his first career loss against the Indiana Pacers as they came back to beat the Thunder.

With about 18 minutes to go in the game, the Indiana Pacers trailed the Oklahoma City Thunder by 19 points. When the clock struck 0, the Pacers had the lead and the win.

Final. 106. 149. 108. 100

What a game. It had it all. Drama. Narratives. Injuries. Adversity. It was a truly phenomenal basketball game, and it had a playoff atmosphere. The Pacers found it inside them to will their way back and win. It was as gutsy of a win as they come.

The difference down the stretch was the Pacers mixing it up. They closed much of the final minutes of the game with both Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, something they rarely do. It worked perfectly in this game, as Turner’s D and Sabonis’ O were both needed fully. The Thunder didn’t have a perfect answer for the giant duo.

Paul George had a very good game, dropping 36 points.  But down the stretch, he couldn’t score and get the Thunder the lead. That’s because his matchup, Wesley Matthews, had a fantastic defensive possession:

And then Matthews continued his clutch play by hitting the game-winner. He was immense down the stretch.

A huge win.

My goodness, this win could not have been bigger. It was against one of the best Pacers players ever. It consisted of a huge comeback. And it kicked off a brutal stretch of games.

Getting a confidence-building win to start this stretch was absolutely massive.

Closing with two centers

Apparently, Thaddeus Young himself was the mastermind behind the closing frontcourt not featuring him.

Beyond the incredible leadership from Thad, the Turner-Sabonis closing duo was awesome. They might be the frontcourt of the future, so getting a glimpse of that is intriguing.

The playoff rotation?

Only 8 guys got actual minutes in this game (TJ Leaf got 4 minutes in the first half). Perhaps this minutes distribution could be what the Pacers go to in the postseason since most teams cut down their rotation in the playoffs.

Time for player grades:

17 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. 4 turnovers, but he did so much to make up for it and had a massively clutch steal. DC was very good.. PG. Indiana Pacers. DARREN COLLISON. B +

A. Matthews struggled in the box score (6/15 shooting), but his clutch play was amazing. He hit some big 3s down the stretch and played some great D. He was huge and deserves a great grade.. SG. Indiana Pacers. WESLEY MATTHEWS

SF. Indiana Pacers. BOJAN BOGDANOVIC. B. 23 points and 5 assists. He wasn’t fantastic or efficient, but he played well as the teams leading scorer.

The ultimate professional letting his teammates close the game. He himself was very Thad on both ends of the floor.. PF. Indiana Pacers. THADDEUS YOUNG. B

B. 10 points and 6 rebounds for Turner, who (like usual) added most of his impact on defense.. C. Indiana Pacers. MYLES TURNER

Indiana Pacers. DOMANTAS SABONIS. A +. Sabonis was ridiculously good. 26 points on 12 shots and added 7 rebounds. He also was passing well, as is usual, and he didn’t turn over the ball. He dominated the post.. C

Indiana Pacers. CORY JOSEPH. B -. CoJo did the best job defending Russell Westbrook, but he himself wasn’t very good on offense. He was still a positive overall.. PG

Only 2 points for McDermott. He wasn’t as good as usual in this game. Felt invisible at times.. SF. Indiana Pacers. DOUG MCDERMOTT. C

-. Only 4 minutes for TJ, who’s only stat was an assist. Not enough minutes for a grade.. PF. Indiana Pacers. TJ LEAF

A -. His first half strategies weren’t great. His second half was perfect.. Head Coach. Indiana Pacers. NATE MCMILLAN

Next. Pacers star Victor Oladipo already walking, making shots during rehab. dark

The Pacers next take on the Nuggets in Denver at 9 PM on St. Patricks Day.