Bennedict Mathurin
(Matt Kryger)

Game Rewind: Pacers 104, Suns 117

Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Game Recap: Suns 117, Pacers 104

Game Recap

While wins have been hard to come by lately for a Pacers team focused on developing its young players, the Suns have found their groove in recent weeks -- and soon will be adding arguably the best player in the NBA to a team with serious championship aspirations.

Those narratives held true on Friday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where Phoenix (31-27) coasted to a 117-104 victory over Indiana (25-32).

Rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin scored a team-high 22 points for the Pacers, who have dropped three straight, seven of their last eight, and 14 of their last 16 contests.

The Suns, on the other hand, have won 10 of their last 13, got All-Star guard Devin Booker back this week from a groin injury that had sidelined him since Christmas, and made the biggest move of any team at Thursday's trade deadline, acquiring four-time scoring champ and former MVP Kevin Durant from Brooklyn in a four-team deal.

Durant wasn't in Indianapolis on Friday, as he is still recovering from an MCL sprain and isn't expected to make his Suns debut until after next week's All-Star break. But Phoenix didn't need him, as six players scored in double figures to lift the visitors to victory.

The Pacers played a part in that four-team deal, acquiring third-year guard Jordan Nwora and veteran former Pacer George Hill from Milwaukee along with three second-round draft picks. To make room on their roster, the Pacers waived fourth-year center Goga Bitadze, second-year forward Terry Taylor, and veteran forward James Johnson.

Hill and Nwora arrived at the Fieldhouse in the hours before Friday's game and watched their new teammates from the bench. They will not play on Saturday in Washington, but are expected to be available on Monday against Utah.

The Suns surged in front early on Friday. Phoenix held the Pacers just one field goal over more than five minutes of game time during a 14-2 run that opened up a 23-9 lead.

Indiana's reserves mounted an impressive close to the opening quarter. T.J. McConnell scored seven points as the Pacers outscored Phoenix 15-7 over the final four minutes of the frame, trimming the deficit down to six points after one.

Mathurin's three-point play on the opening possession of the second quarter pulled the Pacers within three, but the Suns answered with a 3-point barrage. Devin Booker and Ish Wainwright hit two threes apiece during a 12-3 Suns run to push their lead back to 42-30.

Mathurin did his best to keep the Pacers competitive. He drained a three of his own with 8:31 remaining in the second quarter, then threw down perhaps the best dunk of his rookie season a minute later, leaking ahead of the defense after a turnover, catching a half-court pass from Chris Duarte, and converting a right-handed windmill that brought the home crowd out of their seats.

Mathurin scored 10 of his team-high 12 first half points in the second quarter, but the visitors led by double digits at the intermission, taking a 60-47 advantage into the half.

The Pacers were unable to make any sort of run in the third quarter. Behind nine points apiece from Chris Paul and Josh Okogie and eight by Deandre Ayton, the Suns scored 35 points in the frame.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 10 in the frame for Indiana, but the visitors extended their lead to as many as 21 points and were up 95-77 entering the fourth quarter.

The Blue & Gold never managed to get within single digits over the final 12 minutes as the Suns cruised to victory.

"This is a tough time of the year," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've got three games to the All-Star break. Trade deadline was yesterday -- everybody's worn out by that. We've all got to rise above it."

Haliburton finished with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and five assists in 25 minutes, sitting out the entire fourth quarter. Buddy Hield added 14 points on 4-of-11 3-point shooting. Second-year forward Isaiah Jackson amassed 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and five rebounds, all in the fourth quarter.

Ayton led Phoenix with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Booker tallied 21 points, four rebounds, and five assists, while Paul added 19 points and nine assists.

Josh Okogie finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Ish Wainwright scored 13 points off the bench and former Pacer Torrey Craig recorded a double-double for the Suns with 11 points and 12 boards.

Buddy Hield had nine points for Indiana, going 3-for-8 from beyond the arc. Tyrese Haliburton added eight points and four assists.

The Pacers will play in Washington on Saturday on the second half of a back-to-back before returning to Indiana for their final two games before the All-Star break. Indiana hosts Utah on Monday and Chicago on Wednesday before All-Star Weekend tips off next weekend in Salt Lake City.

Inside the Numbers

After scoring a season-low two points in Wednesday's loss in Miami, Mathurin bounced back by topping 20 points for the 23rd time this season. He now has one more 20-point game than each of Haliburton and Hield.

Rookie guard Andrew Nembhard went scoreless in 26 minutes, but dished out 10 assists, the third time in his young career that he has had double-digit assists.

The Suns outscored Indiana 54-40 in the paint on Friday.

The Pacers outscored Phoenix 19-5 in fastbreak points.

Led by Mathurin and Jackson, the Pacers reserves outscored Phoenix's bench, 60-27.

Postgame Media Availability: Feb. 10, 2023

You Can Quote Me On That

"A team like Phoenix that's so precise, that has two great players like Paul and Booker, you've got to be completely precise. And Ayton had a great game, too." -Carlisle on Friday's outcome

"Hustle plays, offensive rebounds. They kicked our (butts) on the glass. I think they kind of took us out of our style of play." -Pacers center Myles Turner on the difference in the game

"He did some good things. The thing that we're working on with our young guys is attention to detail on defense...I think he did a better job tonight, but it's something that we're going to continue to work on with all our guys." -Carlisle on Mathurin bouncing back from Wednesday's game

"Just trying to stay aggressive, trying to see what the defense gives me. Just trying to take advantage of that." -Mathurin on his focus on Friday

"Whether I score two points or 22 points, I always feel better with winning the game." -Mathurin on bouncing back after Wednesday

Stat of the Night

The Suns outrebounded Indiana 53-38 overall and 19-11 on the offensive boards.

  • The Pacers have lost four straight against the Suns, who have swept the season series with Indiana in each of the past two seasons.
  • Hield now has made 218 3-pointers on the season and is nearing in on Reggie Miller's single-season franchise record of 229 made threes in 1996-97 season.
  • Indiana is 4-8 on the season when playing on the first night of a back-to-back.
Up Next

The Pacers travel to Washington to take on Bradley Beal and the Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 PM ET.


The Pacers host Lauri Markkanen and the Utah Jazz at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Monday, Feb. 13 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>