Obi Toppin
(Matt Kryger)

Game Rewind: Pacers 123, Pelicans 114

Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Game Recap: Pacers 123, Pelicans 114

Game Recap

In a midweek matchup between two teams looking to make late-season pushes, the Indiana Pacers put on a show in front of a national audience.

On Wednesday, the Pacers (34-26) used a strong start and fantastic finish to post a 123-114 over the surging New Orleans Pelicans (35-25) at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Before the ESPN-broadcasted game, the Pelicans had won six of their last seven games on the road and eight of their last 11 overall.

After putting together perhaps their best defensive opening quarter of the season, the Pacers held a 64-53 advantage over the Pelicans at intermission. The Pacers led by 11 going into the fourth quarter before the visitors cut it to single-digits in the final frame.

The Pelicans were able to pull within three points with 3:15 remaining, but All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton hit a 25-foot stepback 3-pointer before feeding Pascal Siakam with assists on three straight baskets to help the Pacers to a 121-111 lead with 1:17 left.

Indiana was able to hold on from there.

“Tyrese’s three was the big play in the game, certainly on the offensive end…(New Orleans) needed to get aggressive at the end and Ty and Pascal connected and took advantage of their pressure," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "It’s a massively important win. This time of year, each game has such great meaning. Happy for the guys and now we go on a road trip where it’s going to be the same thing. Each game is huge.” 

The Pacers and Pelicans will have little rest before they face-off again, as the Blue & Gold, winners of four of their last five games, will have the chance to claim their season series against the Pelicans on Friday in New Orleans at Smoothie King Arena.

In the Wednesday win, six players scored in double figures for the Blue & Gold. A trio of Pacers had double-doubles, as Siakam finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, Haliburton recorded 17 points and 13 assists, and Myles Turner logged 14 points and 10 rebounds. Both Bennedict Mathurin and Obi Toppin scored 16 points for the Pacers, and rookie Ben Sheppard put in 11.

Five players scored in double digits for the Pelicans, as Brandon Ingram had 30 points on 8-for-20 shooting, while Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum scored 23 points each.

As a team, the Pacers shot 49 percent overall while holding the Pelicans to 46.7 percent. Indiana’s bench outscored New Orleans' reserves 44-24 and the Pacers won the rebounding margin 50-40 (14-7 offensive) in the game.

"Obviously they have length and we know how aggressive they are on the glass and obviously Zion is a force out there,” Siakam said. “I thought we did a decent job of just putting bodies on those guys. Everyone did great. Myles was guarding Zion, he did a great job on him. Drew (Nembhard) was guarding CJ (McCollum), he did a good job…That’s what we’re going to need every night.”

The Pacers limited the Pelicans to 43.8 percent shooting while scoring at a 52 percent clip themselves in the first half. Turner had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Blue & Gold, while Siakam had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists in the opening 24 minutes.

The Pacers put their defensive clamps on the Pelicans in the first quarter while their historic offense hummed. Indiana made 64 percent of its shots while limiting the visitors to 36 percent to lead 40-24 by the end of the opening frame.

Siakam helped set the tone for the Pacers right away, blocking a layup attempt by Jonas Valanciunas on the first possession and turning into a layup on the other end. The Pacers then held the Pelicans to 1-for-8 shooting in the first 3:30 of the game, establishing a 9-3 lead in the process.

Indiana mustered a 14-2 run midway through the first quarter that featured 3-pointers from Sheppard, Haliburton, and Toppin each to lead 28-16 with 2:17 on the clock before New Orleans drilled a pair of 3-pointers.

In the final 56 seconds, the Pacers scored six points, with the final play of the first quarter about blowing the roof off the fieldhouse.

With six seconds left, a block by Turner turned into a fastbreak where Toppin slammed home a pass off the backboard by Haliburton, jolting the home crowd.

In the second quarter, the Pelicans found some rhythm on offense to cut into their deficit.

After the Pacers went back up by 20 to start the second quarter, the Pelicans mustered a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 13 with 9:17 left in the half, forcing a Blue & Gold timeout.

Out of the brief huddle, the Pacers strung together a 7-2 run after Sheppard hit his third 3-pointer of the half, but the Pelicans answered with a 16-4 spree to make it 57-51 with 2:10 remaining. Five different players scored for the Pelicans during the stretch.

Indiana got 3-pointers to fall from Mathurin and Nembhard in the final 96 seconds of the half, and Haliburton hit a 14-footer with three seconds left to give the Pacers an 11-point lead at the break.

In the third quarter, the teams traded haymakers, but the Pacers were able to stay ahead at 96-85 thanks to a late scoring run. The Pelicans got as close as five points of the lead in the third quarter, but never went ahead.

Ingram scored eight points during a 10-0 Pelicans run early in the third frame to make it 70-65, but two 3-pointers by Nembhard and a trey by Haliburton gave the Pacers a 81-69 advantage with 4:47 on the clock.

A Sheppard steal and layup sparked a 13-5 Pacers run that saw Mathurin bury back-to-back 3-pointers, and the Pacers took a 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Pelicans chipped away at the Pacers' lead early in the fourth by going on a 14-6 run, where McCollum, Williamson, and Ingram split the points, to cut it to 112-109 with 3:15 remaining.

Down the last stretch, however, the Pacers came up clutch.

Inside the Numbers

The Pacers dished out 34 assists as a team.

All nine players that took the floor for the Pacers scored at least eight points in the game.

Tyrese Haliburton recorded his 34th, double-double of the season, Myles Turner logged his 13th, and Pascal Siakam had his fifth.

Bennedict Mathurin has scored in double digits in four straight games.

The Pelicans, who are giving up 112 points per game, allowed 123 points from the Pacers.

Indiana is 18-5 when outrebounding their opponent this season.

New Orleans ranked second in the NBA in steals per game going into Wednesday night with an 8.4 average. They finished with two steals against the Pacers.

The Pacers made all nine of their free throws attempts.

Indiana Pacers Postgame Media Availability (vs. New Orleans Pelicans) | February 28, 2024

You Can Quote Me On That

“He knows how to play the game…He’s doing what we need him to do. He guarded Zion for a few minutes tonight and did a solid job, he guarded Ingram a few times, he switched out on McCollum. The guy’s a versatile player and he can score.” – Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle on Pascal Siakam

“Obi - he’s terrific. He’s growing, he’s getting better. Defensively, he’s made great strides. Offensively, he’s just got a natural knack for how we play, which is really important to our flow and chemistry. Sometimes it’s really hard to get him off the floor.” – Carlisle on Toppin

“Myles took the challenge. It’s a tough challenge. I mean, that is one physical force. That’s like Shaquille O’Neal that is playing point guard and has the quickness and the speed and the rim explosion and everything. He’s just a very unique player. I question whether we’ll ever see a guy quite like him again. He’s just very, very special. And so the game plan is like Rosetta Stone for two days and learning a new language. You’re doing things that your brain is not used to seeing. To be able to just simply hold your own, you’ve got to have a lot of guts and a lot of wherewithal because it’s going to be a physical pound. And Myles did his job tonight.” – Carlisle on Turner’s defense on Zion Williamson

“I thought it was one of Tyrese’s most important games. The offense didn’t come easy early, but he kept running the team, he kept orchestrating, he kept the ball moving. He played the long game and knew that at some point in the game, things would pop…That’s exactly what happened. It didn’t happen until the fourth quarter. But his patience and discipline was rewarded with us winning the game.” -Carlisle on Haliburton

“Ben Sheppard is a constant. You know what you’re going to get. You’re going to get high energy, great effort, playing within the system, stepping into open shots, and making unselfish plays. That’s why we love him. That’s why his teammates love playing with him.” -Carlisle on Sheppard

“Just on the struggle bus right now. Just trying to figure it out, how I can help the team win and figure out what I can do. At the end of the game, they trust me with the ball in my hands and made some plays to win the game.” – Haliburton on bouncing back from a rough game

“(The performance) was a part of the evolution of our relationship and our partnership. It just takes a little time to figure it out. … I just got off the minutes restrictions after All-Star break, so trying to figure out our minutes, what our rotations are going to be, how we know who has it going, and figuring that stuff out. It takes some time” – Haliburton on him and Sikam building chemistry

“I think that at his position, what he does really well, he can defend multiple positions, he can shoot the ball really well. You can see his confidence growing every night and that’s a big thing for him. … He’s doing a really good job right now and it's good to see him kind of hitting his stride right now. He’s becoming a good rotational piece for us.” – Haliburton on Sheppard

“It felt good. Obviously they came within three, great shot by Tyrese and then after that it was just him making plays, doing what he does. Every time they try to double him and things like that, just trying to find the seams. You know you can get the ball any time, so you kind of just get ready for that. I was just watching him a little bit, trying to see where I can just be in his vision and he made some great passes to close the game.” – Siakam on how he and Haliburton closed out the game

“I’m definitely getting better at it. I think also the team is just understanding some of the things that I do well and we’ve been working on a lot of things. I think it’s just going to naturally continue to progress.” – Siakam on finding his fit in the offense

Stat of the Night

Indiana limited New Orleans to 36 percent shooting in the first quarter while recording four blocks and a steal. The Pacers led by 16 after the first quarter and were outscored in the next three quarters.


  • Pacers starting forward Aaron Nesmith missed a fourth straight game on Wednesday due to a right ankle sprain.
  • Prior to the start of the season, Indiana was scheduled for just one nationally televised game (Jan. 30 at Boston). The Pacers’ run during the In-Season Tournament gave them three additional games on national TV, so Wednesday’s broadcast on ESPN was their fifth national game of the season.
  • Indiana and New Orleans have split their season series for three straight seasons. The Pacers haven’t won their series against the Pelicans since the 2018-2019 season.

Up Next

The Pacers travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans once again on Friday, March 1 at 8:00 PM ET.


The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>