Golden State of Mind: Pacers stomped by Warriors


In hosting the Golden State Warriors last night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Indiana Pacers suffered the same fate as other Warriors opponents – a loss.

The score wasn’t the problem, 131-123 on the box score doesn’t look bad to the outside observer. It was the way it happened, including letting up 44 points in the first quarter and trailing by 28 points heading into the fourth quarter.

Paul George ended the evening with 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists on 11-27 shooting, where hitting the 30+ point mark again were the only consolation. After a cold start, C.J. Miles was eventually able to chip in 24 points on 8-15 shooting, but it took him far too long and by that point the Pacers were out of the contest.

The Good
The Golden State Warriors. To a degree, I wanted to be angry. After all, this matchup was slated as the biggest test for the Warriors so far and had major buildup for a regular season game. But, I just couldn’t muster anything other than awe.

It was beautiful basketball, even if Steph Curry wasn’t hitting everything he was taking. The passing, the spacing, the way they made the Pacers defense look like schoolboys, it was a glorious mess.

Ian Mahinmi, Chase Budinger, and Jordan Hill were the most efficient players for Indiana while guys like Rodney Stuckey, George Hill, and Solomon Hill just couldn’t get it going.

The Bad
Defending, to a point, was poor. The Warriors were always going to score in boatloads, but that wasn’t the point. The Pacers are now on a three-game losing streak, where they conceded over 120 points in all three games. It’s the worst three-game stretch of Frank Vogel’s tenure by the numbers.

Additionally, Indiana started out the game by trying to outscore Golden State. The Warriors caught on, the team quit hitting, and the Pacers had nothing to fall back on – enter the 20+ point run that GSW had in the first quarter.

The Warriors shot the ball well at nearly 55% overall, just over 44% from distance, but looked like the dominant team from about three minutes in and on. Again, the box score looks relatively even because Indiana went on to outscore their visitors 40-20 in the last quarter, but it was a bloodbath fueled by the dagger that is Klay Thompson. Every time the Pacers picked up a sliver of momentum, Thompson was there to shoot it down with a three.

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It wasn’t easy to watch, but it was a realization that this team has a long way to go before they can be considered contenders. Paul George is very much still the leader of this team, but he sometimes shows signs of feeling like he has to do more than he does, or than he should.

Again, painful, but hauntingly beautiful basketball from Golden State through three quarters won them this game. Indiana fans will take solace in the run at the death of the game when the Warriors starters were (momentarily) benched, but none of it mattered. It was a loss, a tough loss, and now it’s time to bounce back.

Two days rest before Indiana host the Miami Heat, tipoff set for Friday night at 7:00 pm ET.