A day after upsetting the Los Angeles Lakers, the Indiana Pacers traveled north to take on the Golden State Warriors. Missing several of their best players, Indiana showcased their depth in an impressive performance. Even though they lost another player to injury, and needed an overtime period, they defeated the Warriors 121-117.
The Warriors never got rolling offensively, struggling from three all game long. Still, it looked like they had an opportunity to stretch things out early. The Pacers committed five turnovers in the first quarter, opening the door for the Warriors to take a 30-23 lead.
Without Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis, it was a rare matchup for the Warriors where the other team looked like they had no real answer for them inside. Center Kevon Looney recorded 9 points and 9 rebounds in the first half. He finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Looney was not the only Dubs player to make a hyper-efficient early contribution. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga recorded 5 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in the first half without attempting a field goal. The rookie found a way to contribute without remaining a consistent focal point of the offense.
The Warriors got to the free throw line 20 times in the first half, and for that reason Golden State led 63-55 at the half despite shooting just 3-for-16 from three.
Unsurprisingly, there was one Dubs player who rose above the rest offensively: Stephen Curry. On a night when Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson combined to shoot just 7-for-24 from the field (0-for-12 from three), Steph recorded 39 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists on 12-for-27 shooting.
Golden State started the second half slowly, missing a three and committing a pair of turnovers, while the Pacers started on an 8-0 run. Curry responded with a triple, but Indiana answered and took a two-point lead. Both teams continued going back-and-fourth all quarter and entered the fourth tied at 83.
To their credit, the Pacers continued finding ways to hang around. Rookie Chris Duarte, who was reportedly a top Warriors target in this year’s draft, led the way for Indiana, finishing with 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
While the Warriors were never able to find consistency from deep, the Pacers shot 42.9% from three. Golden State added in 15 second-half turnovers, making it even easier for Indiana to keep pace.
Things hit an early low for the Warriors when they fell behind 100-96 with just over 5:00 to go in the fourth quarter. Head coach Steve Kerr decided to let Curry stay in and play the entire final quarter. He immediately knocked down a deep three. Then, when the Warriors trailed 104-99, Thompson delivered a post fadeaway that sparked a 7-2 run.
After a free-throw by Isaiah Jackson gave the Pacers a 107-106 lead, Golden State needed just one bucket to retake the lead. Thompson air-balled an open three, Iguodala fumbled an offensive rebound, Curry missed a midrange jumper, and Wiggins missed a pull-up of his own. However, the Pacers were held scoreless for just as long. Still trailing 107-106, Curry drew a foul, nailed both free throws, and put the Dubs ahead 108-107.
The Warriors prevented the Pacers from getting the ball to Duarte on the next possession and forced Torrey Craig to take a difficult fadeaway that rimmed out. Indiana quickly fouled Curry, who extended the lead to 110-107 with 9.1 seconds remaining.
Coming out of a timeout, the Warriors chose not to foul, and Curry got caught watching the ball defensively, leaving Justin Holiday open for a game-tying three. Holiday delivered, and the score was 110-110 with 5.1 seconds to go. Juan Toscano-Anderson found some space to drive following the inbounds, but could not convert, sending the game to overtime.
Golden State started overtime on a 5-0 run, but the Pacers answered with a 10-0 stretch of their own. While Indiana was the shorthanded team playing on their second game in two days, it was the Warriors who looked burnt out.
Wiggins brought the Warriors within three by converting an alley-oop layup with a minute to go in overtime. However, trailing 120-117, the Dubs continued failing from three. Toscano-Anderson, Poole (twice), and Curry all missed good looks to tie the game.
Not only are the Warriors not happy with the result of today’s game, they now must turn around for a back-to-back of their own. They will host the Houston Rockets tomorrow (January 21st) at 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.
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