GAME RECAP: Thunder 100, Pacers 95

Steven Adams scores 23 points with 13 rebounds and Paul George adds 12 points in his return to Indiana as the Thunder take it, 100-95.

Postgame 171213

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GAME RECAP: Thunder 100, Pacers 95

Steven Adams scores 23 points with 13 rebounds and Paul George adds 12 points in his return to Indiana as the Thunder take it, 100-95.
Dec 13, 2017  |  02:47

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Dec. 13, 2017

December 13, 2017 - Pacers players Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison, and Thaddeus Young discussed Indiana's 100-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 13, 2017  |  03:33

Postgame: Paul George Press Conference - Dec. 13, 2017

December 13, 2017 - Paul George speaks about his return to Indiana after the Thunder came away with a close victory against the Pacers.
Dec 13, 2017  |  06:09

Turner Glides For The Flush

December 13, 2017: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 13, 2017  |  02:37

Oladipo With The Nifty Finish

December 13, 2017: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 13, 2017  |  02:11

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Dec. 13, 2017

Dec. 13, 2017 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan speaks with the media following Indiana's 100-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dec 13, 2017  |  08:53

Lance Ends the First

December 13, 2017: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 13, 2017  |  01:43

Turner Denies Carmelo

Myles Turner gets the big block on Carmelo Anthony at the rim.
Dec 13, 2017  |  00:15

Bojan Drops a Dime

December 13, 2017: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 13, 2017  |  00:58

Bojan Steal Leads to Fastbreak

December 13, 2017: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Indiana Pacers - Highlights
Dec 13, 2017  |  00:28

Tony Dungy On Best Indy Memories

December 13, 2017 - Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy spoke with Pacers.com's Eddie White about his best Indianapolis memories and always feeling back home again in Indiana.
Dec 13, 2017  |  01:38

Pacers Stumble in the Spotlight, Ready to Move on

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Nate McMillan was as curious as the 17,923 fans were before the Pacers met Oklahoma City Wednesday. How would his team that had been allowed the luxury of relative anonymity through the season's first 27 games handle its first moment in the crosshairs of a national spotlight?

"All this is new to us," McMillan said in the hallway outside the Pacers' locker room, about an hour and a half before tipoff. "I'll see. We're still learning about this team. We're getting a little more attention now and it's a big game. I'm waiting to see just like you guys are waiting to see, just how we respond to this."

He didn't like the summation provided by the Pacers' 100-95 loss to the Thunder. ESPN's national broadcast — the first of the season for the Pacers — the season's first capacity crowd in its 15th home game and the mountain of hype generated by the return of former Pacers star Paul George all combined to distract the Pacers from the brand of basketball that had made them one of the NBA's most pleasantly surprising teams.

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The evidence of that was jumping out all over the box score. They were outrebounded, 52-42, exposing their lack of physicality, and were outscored on second-chance points, 22-13. They got to the foul line for just six attempts, hitting four, and had just 18 assists, exposing their lack of ball movement in the halfcourt offense.

"I thought we settled," McMillan said. "Our guys, playing in this type of game and on national television, you have to control your emotions, and that was one of the things I talked about before the game. You get on this kind of stage, you start playing for you and not playing together, which is what we've done."

In the end, the game was not about George or Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, the players acquired in the summertime deal with OKC. George hit just 3-of-14 shots. Oladipo, partially because of George's defense, hit just 9-of-26, a blatant departure from his exceptional play of late. The other members of OKC's "Big Three" struggled as well. Russell Westbrook hit 3-of-17 shots and Carmelo Anthony hit 4-of-14. Myles Turner also had an off-night for the Pacers, hitting 3-of-11 shots.

Ultimately, it was up to the likes of Steven Adams (23 points, 13 rebounds) and Alex Abrines (4-of-6 3-pointers) to lead the Thunder, and the likes of Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic to keep the Pacers in the game into the final minute.

George, whose trade request via his agent led many fans to brand him a traitor, was booed lustily during the pre-game introductions, and every time he touched the ball throughout the game. He shot poorly and had four turnovers, but didn't blame the harsh environment for that.

"I played over 300-some games here," he said, looking back on his seven seasons with the Pacers, four of which included All-Star selections. "I was confident. It didn't have anything to do with the boos."

Oladipo — who scored 35 points against the Thunder in the game in Oklahoma City on Oct. 25 — also declined to blame his play on the hype surrounding the game, but later admitted to being "overhyped." It showed in both the quantity and quality of his shooting, along with his turnovers. Nobody was pointing fingers in the Pacers' locker room afterward, but there were plenty of references to the failings of the offense.

"We got out of character a little bit as far as playing as a team," Young said.

"We just have to get back to moving the basketball."

Oladipo gave due credit to George, who did not guard him in the earlier meeting. The Thunder defended him the way teams defend star players, gluing their best defender to him and then double-teaming him when he dribbled off screens.

"The first time I've had a defender like that guarding me since I've been on this team," Oladipo said afterward.

"Which comes with the territory, I guess. I had been playing well of late. People game plan for me, so I have to be ready for anything. Today I wasn't ready, but that's alright. I guarantee I'll be ready next time."

George was glad to be done with it, too.

"Happy the circus is over," he said from the interview room, where he was taken to accommodate all the reporters wanting to hear from him. "Glad we can move on."

George also praised Oladipo. Not for Wednesday's performance, but for his season's body of work, which on the whole remains impressive. Wednesday's game, in effect, was a torch-passing moment.

"Vic is the face of Indiana, Vic is the future of Indiana," George said. "He's going to be great here. He's blessed, he's talented.

"Let's put all this to rest. I had an amazing seven years here, I was blessed to play in front of a great Indiana fan base. I'm grateful to have played in this organization, but, ultimately, I didn't achieve what I wanted to do here, and I moved on. Both sides moved on."

It was, the Pacers reminded themselves many times, just one game — one game they were glad to put behind them, so they can get back to the more routine business of the regular season.

They close their stretch of six consecutive home games on Friday against Detroit. A victory would give them five wins and a successful homestand before returning to the road.

What happened here Wednesday should keep them humble.

"It just shows us where we are," McMillan said.


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