Pacers conquer back-to-back demons vs. Clippers

The Pacers finally won on the second night of a back-to-back, and they did it against a contender.
Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Clippers
Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Clippers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The Indiana Pacers finally did it. They won a game with no rest.

For a team as young as the Pacers, with an average age of around 25 years old, you'd expect them to be a bit better on back-to-backs than they are. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Going into Monday night's showdown against the Clippers, the Pacers held a record of 2-10 on the second night of back-to-backs, which has been perhaps the third biggest issue this year, behind the inability to beat bad teams, and lack of defense in the early months of the season.

Before the Clippers game, the Pacers' loss catalog on back-to-back nights included defeats to the Hornets, Jazz, Blazers, Raptors, and Bulls, all lottery teams with no aspirations to contend this season. As you can see, these losses tie into the aforementioned issues of Indiana not being able to take care of business against inferior teams.

They hold by far the worst record against below .500 teams of any playoff team in either conference, at 12-17. Because of this, many chalked up Indiana's Monday night matchup against the contending Clippers as a loss from the get-go, especially since the Pacers just came off a grueling and frustrating loss to the Lakers the night before.

Fortunately, this was anything but the case. Despite a rather slow start to the game, trailing 29-34 after the first quarter, Indiana took control and led the rest of the way, even leading by as much as 23 points at a time to eventually come away with the 133-116 win.

Fresh off his birthday celebration, Myles Turner stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points and seven rebounds, while Tyrese Haliburton continued his renaissance with 21 points and nine assists on 6/9 from deep. However, Pascal Siakam was the savior for Indiana yet again, as his 31 points were a game-high for both teams and was the ultimate factor in giving Indiana the win, as nobody on the Clippers had an answer for him.

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This win against a playoff team on the second night of a back-to-back felt like another step in the evolution of the Indiana Pacers. No longer a defensive liability, the Pacers have sought out an identity for themselves, and with nine games left in the regular season and no back-to-backs remaining, plus a rather easy schedule going forward, it feels like the sixth seed is more of a formality than a possibility for Indiana.