After winning four straight at home, the Indiana Pacers have now been tasked with completing their final West Coast road trip of the season, and got off to a great start by defeating the Golden State Warriors 102-94.
The game started off fast-paced, — Lance Stephenson tempo as Indiana fans might call it — with both teams shooting over 70 percent. They eventually cooled off, with the Warriors shooting 40.9 percent and the Pacers shooting 64 percent, to end the first quarter.
Paul George scored six of the Pacers first eight points, and finished with 14 points in the first quarter, setting a career-high at Oracle Arena where the previous three games he scored a combined 15 points. He finished the game with 23 points, four rebounds and two assists.
The Pacers led by 13 at halftime and looked to have complete control on both ends. But you knew the Warriors stagnant three-point shooting wouldn’t last all night and it ended in the second half.
Down 20 early in the third quarter, Stephen Curry got the Warriors offense rolling with a 19-foot jumper which started a 7-0 run. Curry, who scored only seven points in the first half, would go on to score 10 in the third and narrow the Pacers lead to eight.
It got dicey for the Pacers in the fourth quarter as the Warriors offense continued to surge behind the three-point shooting of Curry and Klay Thompson. They combined to go 3-of-7 from three-point range in the fourth, inching the Warriors to within four points, but Lance Stephenson and George Hill wouldn’t let them all the way back in.
With three minutes left, Stephenson hit his first three-pointer of the game, followed by Hill hitting his own three-pointer to keep the Pacers up seven and causing the Warriors to begin fouling.
One of the keys to the game for the Pacers was going to be holding Curry below 30, and they did just that as he finished with 24. Thompson shot 6-of-13, including 5-of-10 from three-point and finished with 17. Andre Igudala was a non-factor in the game, as many do when they are being guarded by George, and he finished with seven points, two rebounds, three assists and four steals. But it was the interior duo of David Lee (20 points and 12 rebounds) and Andrew Bogut (10 points and 13 rebounds) that made it possible for the Warriors outsider shooters to finally get going in the second half.
The Pacers played another complete, team-first oriented game as all five starters finished in double figures. Stephenson nearly earned his fourth triple-double of the season, 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, Hill had 15, Roy Hibbert earned his 10th double-double of the season, 14 points and 13 rebounds, and David West finished with 17 points.
Winning on the road has been a struggle this season for the Pacers, 11-6 prior to last night, but this will be the first road trip with Danny Granger, who has undoubtedly given a boost to this Pacers squad on both ends. In four of the Pacers past five wins they scored over 100 points, despite averaging only 98.2 points per game on the season.
With four games left on the trip, the Pacers have already won arguably their hardest game. They will take on the Phoenix Suns next who are using two of the Pacers throwaways, Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green, to make a push for the playoffs.