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Game Rewind: Pacers 102, Pelicans 129

Friday, March 1 at 8:00 PM ET at Smoothie King Center

Game Recap: Pelicans 129, Pacers 102

Game Recap

In their second matchup in three days, the New Orleans Pelicans put on a scorching offensive performance to level their season series with the Indiana Pacers.

The Pelicans (36-25) made 23 of their first 26 shots to lead by as many as 31 points in the first half, and never looked back in a 129-102 victory over the Pacers (34-27) on Friday at Smoothie King Center. With the loss, the Pacers and Pelicans have now split their season series for four straight seasons.

The Pelicans dropped an NBA-season-high 48 first-quarter points – on 91 percent shooting  – to lead 48-26 before holding a 77-56 advantage at the break. The Pelicans then outscored the Pacers 31-16 in the third quarter, limiting the Pacers to 23 percent shooting in the frame, to lead by 36 points going into the fourth quarter.

Indiana’s full starting lineup didn’t play together on the floor in the final 12 minutes.

Overall, the Pelicans finished 55.8 percent shooting to the Pacers’ 42.6 percent. The Pelicans won the rebounding margin 47-43 and outscored the Pacers 26-12 in fast-break points.

Brandon Ingram, coming off a 30-point game on Wednesday, led the Pelicans with 34 points on 13 of 21 shooting, and Trey Murphy III matched a season-high 28 points. Pelicans 6-11 center Jonas Valanciunas, who played just seven minutes in the previous matchup and didn’t score, had 15 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes and former All-Star Zion Williamson finished with eight points, seven assists and three rebounds.

Bennedict Mathurin and Isaiah Jackson led the Pacers with 13 points each, while Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner each scored 12 points. Jackson also pulled down 11 rebounds to record his third double-double of the season.

Pacers All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton finished with no points (0-for-7 shooting), three assists, and three rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

The Pelicans shot 90.9 percent as a team in the opening frame, with Ingram going 9-for-11 for 19 points to guide his team to the early 22-point lead.

New Orleans could hardly miss out the gate as they made seven of their first eight shots, which included two 3-pointers from CJ McCollum, to lead 17-9.

The Pelicans continued firing from there, extending their hot shooting to 17 of 19. During the stretch, the Pelicans put together a 17-0 scoring spree, behind 15 points by Ingram, to lead 38-16 with 2:49 left in the opening quarter.

A basket by Obi Toppin stopped the bleeding for the Blue & Gold, but five points by Murphy in the last 41 seconds extended the Pelicans lead to 22 points.

The 48 points were also a franchise record for the Pelicans for points in a first quarter, and tied their franchise’s record for points in any quarter.

“The biggest problem was the first quarter,” Pacers head coach Rick Carilsle said. “They put up some historic numbers and we did not get a defensive rebound, which I’ve never heard of that happening. This is a Pacers thing. It’s not any individual guy. … We had a lot of guys that struggled.”

Murphy’s momentum carried into the second quarter, as he went on a self-imposed 9-0 run on two 3-pointers and an and-one to extend the Pelicans lead to 57-26 with 10:34 left in the half.

Out of a timeout, the Pacers finally got some momentum thanks to strong play by the second unit.  From 7:39 to  4:16 the Pacers strung together a 15-0 run behind five points by Aaron Nesmith and four from T.J. McConnell.

In the final 3:17 of the half, however, the Pelicans used a 17-7 run, where McCollum scored seven points, and Murphy hit two 3-pointers – including one at the buzzer – to go ahead by 21 points.

Murphy accounted for 23 points on 7-for-10 shooting and Ingram scored 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting in the first half.

Out of the intermission, the Pelicans went on a 12-1 string, where Ingram accounted for seven points, to push the lead to 87-57. The Pacers didn’t make their first field goal until there was 7:23 left in the third quarter, and the Pelicans would lead by as many as 36 points.

The Pelicans continued to pile on the points before the final frame, using an 18-5 run to lead 108-72 going into the fourth quarter.

In the final minutes, the Pelicans coasted as starters sat on both sides.

One bright spot for the Pacers was rookie Jarace Walker, who in his 19th NBA game  played 27 minutes and finished with six points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. The assists were a career-best and blocks matched his previous high.

Indiana’s next two games will take place in the Lone Star State. The Pacers continue their road trip on Sunday when they take on rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs before playing Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

Inside the Numbers

Indiana didn’t record a defensive rebounds in the first quarter.

Tyrese Haliburton has recorded zero points in just two games in his career. The last time was against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2022 when he played for the Sacramento Kings.

The Pelicans have led by 20 or more points in a game 25 times this season.

Twelve different Pacers players recorded a basket against the Pelicans.

The Pelicans made 15 3-pointers to Indiana’s 10 threes.

Both teams collected nine steals.

New Orleans outscored Indiana 56-54 in the paint.

Washington, Ind. native and former Indiana University basketball star Cody Zeller played in 5:35 of action and recorded two points and four rebounds for the Pelicans.

Indiana Pacers Postgame Media Availability (at New Orleans Pelicans) | March 1, 2024

You Can Quote Me On That

“Jarace Walker was a big bright spot in this game. … He demonstrated that the work he has put in with the G League team has really paid off. He showed tonight he can help our team. He’s going to need to be ready.” – Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle on Walker

“They hit a lot of tough shots. But on nights like this when you have players like Ingram and Zion (Williamson) and McCollum that can rise up in your face, you have to find a way to turn those guys off. At times, it simply comes down to an exceptional individual effort. The momentum got going and they had a special quarter and we had a stinker.” – Carlisle on the first quarter

“This is a perfect simulation for a playoff series where you play at home and then turn around and play the same team the next night in their building. IT’s important for our guys to feel this. It doesn’t make it fun, it doesn’t make it good, but it’s a reality.” – Carlisle on playing the Pelicans two straight times

“He did many good things and was ready. I told him before the game … be ready, you could definitely be in the mix tonight. He said ‘yes, sir,’ and was ready.” – Carlisle on Walker

Stat of the Night

The Pelicans shot 90.9 percent as a team in the first quarter to lead 48-26. The 48 points were a franchise record for the Pelicans for points in a first quarter, and tied their franchise’s record for points in any quarter.

Noteworthy

  • After missing four straight games with an ankle sprain, Aaron Nesmith was back in the starting lineup for the Pacers on Friday. Rookie Ben Sheppard, however, was a late scratch due to an illness and Doug McDermott was out with a calf injur
  • The Pacers are 14-15 on the road this season, including 2-7 at Western Conference arenas. Twelve of the Pacers' final 21 games are on the road.

Up Next

The Pacers head to San Antonio to take on Victor Wembanyama and the Spurs on Sunday, March 3 at 7:00 PM ET.

Tickets

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 >>