Friday, April 5, 2013 at 8:00 PM EDT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: IND 75, OKC 97
Scott Agness | April 5, 2013 | Updated April 5, 2013 at 11:50 PM
The night was set up to be a special one for the Pacers. They were slated to be on ESPN with a chance to clinch their first division title in nine seasons. A week ago, though, ESPN opted to go with the Miami at Charlotte game instead. Against one of the elite teams in the NBA, Oklahoma City, Indiana “laid an egg,” according to Paul George in a with a 97-75 loss on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana (48-28) got within three points of the Oklahoma City on a layup from Paul George, his third (and final) field goal of the game with 47.9 seconds left in the third quarter. The Pacers then went cold in the fourth, shooting 2-for-18, including 0-9 from deep. The Thunder (56-20) outscored the Pacers 25-8 and ended the Pacers’ five-game winning streak.
The Chicago Bulls didn’t do the Pacers any favors – and won tonight – so the division title will have to wait at least another day.
The game turned in the second half when the Thunder came out of the locker room energized and determined. They beat the Pacers to nearly every loose ball and converted eight offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points. All quarter long head coach Frank Vogel kept encouraging his team to get after it.
“If you don’t win the loose ball game against a team like that, you’re not going to win,” he said. “We just seemed like we were a step slow to every single one of them.”
After the Pacers fell behind by 11, they responded out of a timeout with an 8-0 run. Entering the fourth quarter, it was just a five-point ball game.
Then bricks and Kevin Durant happened.
Durant, who is trying to wrap up his fourth-straight NBA scoring title, tallied 15 of his game-high 34 points in the final quarter while the Pacers totaled a measly eight points.
“We just didn’t have enough pop to stay with them,” David West said. “That’s an NBA Championship caliber team.”
The physicality was there all game long, especially in the second quarter when the game was held up a couple times because of blood on the floor. By this time, Tyler Hansbrough, who had to change jerseys mid-quarter, had taken two shots to the face. The second one earned Hasheem Thabeet a technical foul.
Roy Hibbert, who scored 22 points to lead the Pacers in scoring for the second successive game, was in foul trouble (3), which limited his play on the court in the first half. The Pacers went ahead by four, but then Durant, who scored only two points in the opening period, was responsible for the Thunder’s final 10 of the half and the Pacers trailed by one.
From the tip, Indiana was a pace behind. They missed their first four shots and got in an 8-0 hole. They then hit 10 of their next 14 field goals and outscored the Thunder 21-12, but trailed by three points after one.
Inside the Numbers
David West, who contributed 17 points, and Roy Hibbert were the only two Indiana players that shot it well. Take those two out of the equation (15-of-28), and the rest of the team was 12-for-44 (27 percent).
Paul George only scored eight, ending a streak of 23 consecutive games in which he had finished in double figures.
Russell Westbrook scored 24 points and assisted on nine baskets. Serge Ibaka chipped in 12 points.
The Pacers grabbed a season-low 31 boards and were out-rebounded by 22, but Vogel believed that figured was skewed because of so many missed shots.
Indiana’s eight points in the fourth quarter were it’s fewest in any period this season.
“Westbook and Durant, if you’re not exceptional on the ball against those guys they’ll burn you and they burned us tonight.” – Frank Vogel
“They definitely had a pep in their step, were quick to the ball and they just played with a lot of energy. That’s really where they beat us out.” – Paul George
“The ball going in the basket. That’s about it. They were making tough shots but we wasn’t making shots and that’s the difference of the game.” – George Hill on the difference
“With energy. We talked about it and sleep was overrated. We came out and played well tonight. We played with a lot of force and we played with a lot of commitment to the defensive end. We are playing one of the best teams in their building.” – Thunder head coach Scott Brooks on how they handled the back-to-back
Stat of the Game
The Pacers shot a season low 9.5 percent (2-of-21) from 3-pt range. They missed all 12 tries in the second half.
- The Thunder swept the season series.
- Oklahoma City’s Hasheem Thabeet and Russell Westbrook both received technical fouls.
- Both teams wore special adidas warmup shirts for Go Green weekend; the Pacers wore their gold uniforms.
- Pacers team ophthalmologist Dr. John Abrams handed out the Abrams Academic Achievement Awards to 10 elementary and/or middle school students from five area schools for their academic and leadership performance in school.
- The game was a sellout, the Pacers’ eighth of the season.
The Pacers travel to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., and play the Wizards on Saturday evening at 7 PM EST.