Sunday Nov. 27 at 4:00 PM ET at Crypto.com Arena
Game Recap: Clippers 114, Pacers 100
An area of usual strength proved the downfall for the Indiana Pacers against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
After a tight first half, with 10 lead changes and eight ties, the Pacers (11-8) scored a season-low 12 third-quarter points as they fell to the Clippers (11-10), 114-100, at Crypto.com Arena.
Going into the game, the Pacers averaged the second-most third-quarter points in the NBA at 30.2 per game. The Pacers made just four of 22 shots – including missing all 12 3-point attempts – as they were outscored 23-12 out of halftime.
It was the worst shooting night of the season for the Pacers, making just 38 percent of its total shots and 21.4 percent from 3-point. The nine 3-pointers made by Indiana was the fewest for the team in a game this season.
The Blue & Gold struggled against LA in the paint, as the Clippers outscored the Pacers 66-48 inside and outrebounded the visitors 62-39. Clippers 7-foot center Ivica Zubac dominated all afternoon, scoring 31 points (14-for-17 shooting) while pulling down 29 rebounds and recording three blocks.
Pacers forward Jalen Smith scored a career-high 23 points, including 19 in the first half, in the loss and point guard Tyrese Haliburton had 15 points and 11 assists for his 13th double-double of the season.
“Some nights it's as simple as make or miss,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “I think when we look at the film, we're going to see that there were a lot of defensive things that we weren't doing well enough. And, you know, the basketball gods are tough. If you're not doing the right things defensively, sometimes the ball just doesn't go in.”
In the first half, both teams shot over 50 percent as the Clippers held a 59-57 lead.
The teams traded the lead eight times in the first quarter, but the Clippers would take a 35-29 advantage into the second.
Smith and Zubac both came out red hot off the tip.
Smith was perfect from the floor, making all four of his field goal attempts (two 3-pointers), for 10 points and Zubac made seven of eight shots for 14 points while also pulling down nine rebounds (five offensive) in the opening frame.
While the Pacers were able to go up by as many as eight points, the Clippers strung together a 14-2 run in the final 2:56 of the first quarter.
Haliburton, who leads the NBA in assists and double-doubles, had seven dimes in the first quarter.
Five points by Pacers rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin and two baskets from veteran point guard T.J. McConnell in the first two minutes of the second quarter put the Pacers back on top 38-37.
With the Clippers up five points with 4:01 left in the half, Haliburton hit a step-back 3-pointer in the corner before throwing down a dunk to retie the game.
The teams kept it close in the waning seconds of the half, as a reverse layup by Buddy Hield with three ticks left made it a one-possession game.
The Clippers dominated the paint in the first half, outsourcing the Pacers 42-26 while also winning the rebounding margin 31-22. Pacers center Myles Turner, who is tied for the top blocks per game average in the NBA at 2.8 per contest, played just 7 minutes, 54 seconds in the first half after picking up three fouls.
After intermission, the Pacers’ offense stalled.
Indiana stayed within three points until the Clippers went on a 14-2 streak from 7:42 to 4:41 on 3-pointers by John Wall, Marcus Morris Sr. and an and-one from Amir Coffey to put LA up 79-64.
In the final 6:03 of the third quarter, the Pacers scored just five points– three of which came off free throws.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Pacers trailed 82-69.
“The third quarter, we had some really good looks. Nothing was going down,” Carlisle said. “It was just rough sledding.”
The Pacers had missed 15 straight 3-pointers until Haliburton got one to go from deep with 10:17 left in the game, but the team trailed 91-74.
Los Angeles bolstered its lead to 20 points midway through the fourth quarter, and the Pacers couldn’t recover.
Carlisle emptied the bench midway through the final frame.
Six players scored in double figures for Los Angeles. After Zubac, Norman Powell had 19 points and Terrance Mann scored 14 points for the Clippers.
Overall, the Pacers shot 36-for-94 (9-for-42 3-point) while the Clippers went 42-for-94 (6 of 32 3-point).
"I think our shot selection was rough tonight," Haliburton said. "Not getting stops didn't help. We want to play in transition as much as possible. We didn't get a ton of stops and didn't really rebound very well. That didn't allow us to play in transition."
Former Pacer Paul George, who spent seven seasons in Indiana, Kawhi Leonard and Luke Kennard all sat out due to injury for the Clippers.
Indiana will play at Crypto.com Arena again tomorrow for the second game of its seven-game road trip, but faces the Los Angeles Lakers.
Inside the Numbers
Since the 1973-74 season, when blocks were first tracked, Zubac is just the third player in NBA history to have at least 31 points, 29 rebounds and three blocks. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was previously the most recent player to accomplish the feat (1978).
The 12 points scored in the third quarter is the second-lowest total of any quarter for the Pacers this season, as the team put up just 10 in the first quarter against the Houston Rockets on Oct. 14.
Mathurin finished with nine points for the Pacers, just the second time in his career scoring fewer than 10. He entered Sunday averaging 19.4 points per game to lead all rookies and bench players.
Turner played a season-low 20 minutes against the Clippers after picking up three fouls in the first half. He didn't record a block in the game, ending his league-leading streak of blocks at 33 games.
The 66 points in the paint is the second-most given up in a game this season by Indiana. On Nov. 21, the Timberwolves scored 74 inside.
There have been just two NBA games where a player has recorded 30 points and 30 rebounds since 1982. Zubac came up just one rebound short, fouling out with 3:40 left in the game.
Postgame Media Availability: Nov. 27, 2022
You Can Quote Me On That
“Zubac dominated in there. We’ve got to do a better job of getting a body on guys like him and helping Myles (Turner). This is a situation where you’ve got to have one, two, three guys helping in there. He had a dominant game.” –Carlisle on Zubac
"With Jalen Smith, for me and everyone in that locker room, it's not about whether he's making shots. It's about his presence and disposition, and he had it tonight from start to finish. He was terrific." --Carlisle on Smith's career night
"I think us guards need to do a better job of coming down and rebounding. Our bigs are doing all they can boxing out and things like that. The guards need to come down and help finish possessions. I think it kind of ebbs and flows of when we're doing well and when we're not. We just want consistency for our team." --Haliburton said
"I know I'm a good shooter. It's a make or miss league. You're going to make some and you're going to miss some. It's just that mentality of just keep shooting. They have to fall at some point. I've been working extremely hard the past couple days to try and find the right form and the right touch for me, and it helped out today in the game." --Smith on his big scoring night
Stat of the Night
Smith’s 23 points against the Clippers is a new career-high for him. He matched his previous career high, 19 points, in the first half by shooting 6-for-10 (3-for-5 3-pointers).
- The Pacers on Monday will play its second game of a seven-game road trip. The span of away games is the longest for the team since 1986.
- Haliburton has achieved a double-double in five straight games.
The Pacers will face LeBron James and the Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back on Monday, Nov. 28 at 10:30 PM ET.
After a seven-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Indiana to host Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>