Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 8:00 PM ET at Paycom Center
Game Recap: Thunder 126, Pacers 106
The Pacers got off to a rough start on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, so much so that head coach Rick Carlisle had to use two timeouts in the first four minutes.
They never really recovered, as the Thunder (22-23) led from start to finish in a 126-106 victory. It was the fifth straight loss for the Pacers, who dropped to .500 on the season (23-23).
Andrew Nembhard led Indiana with 18 points and seven assists in the loss. The Pacers committed a season-high 24 turnovers in the defeat.
Things couldn't have gone much worse for the Pacers to start Wednesday's game. Indiana missed its first four shots and committed three turnovers. On the other end, the Thunder started 6-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
The Pacers' early struggles and the Thunder's hot start added up to a 17-1 Oklahoma City lead just 3:28 into Wednesday's contest.
"The beginning of the game was ugly and most of the rest of it was ugly, other than the fourth quarter," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've got some things to get better at. Our attention to detail to start the game was poor. We've just got to learn from this and get better."
Buddy Hield knocked down a 3-pointer at 8:12 for Indiana's first field goal. The Pacers eventually found a bit of a rhythm offensively, but were unable to shave much off of the deficit.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tallied 10 points in the opening frame, going 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Oklahoma City led by as many as 19 and took a 36-20 lead into the second quarter.
The Pacers' Canadian rookies sparked Indiana's first real charge of the night at the start of the ensuing frame. Bennedict Mathurin knocked down a 3-pointer 20 seconds into the second quarter and Nembhard followed with a layup and a jumper to pull the Blue & Gold within single digits.
Indiana continued to claw away, ultimately outscoring the Thunder 17-4 to open the quarter. T.J. McConnell's layup with 5:28 remaining in the first half capped that run and brought the Pacers within three at 40-37.
That would be the closest Indiana would get, however. Isaiah Joe and Luguentz Dort each made two 3-pointers as Oklahoma City outscored the Pacers 18-7 over the remainder of the half and took a 58-44 lead into the intermission.
The Pacers had trimmed the deficit to 73-63 following Myles Turner's layup five minutes into the second half. But the Thunder reeled off 14 unanswered points over the next three-plus minutes to open up a 24-point lead.
The hosts continued to extend the margin over the remainder of the quarter and took a 100-73 lead into the fourth.
There was no drama in the final period, as both coaches used it to give extended minutes to their young players.
Mathurin finished with 13 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes, going 3-for-6 from 3-point range. Two-way guard Trevelin Queen tallied 13 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in his most playing time this season.
Second-year forward Isaiah Jackson collected 11 points and seven boards, second-year guard Chris Duarte tallied 11 points and five rebounds, and McConnell registered 10 points and six assists.
Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 23 points and also tallied six assists and three steals. Joe also scored 23 points and went 7-for-12 from 3-point range.
Dort (22 points and 11 rebounds), Josh Giddey (16 points and 11 assists), and Kenrich Williams (12 points and 10 assists) all recorded double-doubles for the Thunder, while
The Pacers will wrap up a four-game road trip with a back-to-back over the weekend, playing in Denver on Friday night and Phoenix on Saturday before returning to Indianapolis to host Chicago on Tuesday.
Inside the Numbers
Nembhard reached double figures for the 13th time this season and the fourth time in his last eight games.
Queen reached double figures for the first time as a Pacer and set new career highs for rebounds (nine) and blocks (three) in his 14th career game.
Turner blocked six shots on Wednesday, matching his season high. He has swatted four or more shots in five of his last eight games.
Hield scored a season-low three points in 19 minutes on Wednesday, going 1-for-4 from the field and from 3-point range.
The Pacers matched their season high with 20 offensive rebounds in the loss, scoring 21 second-chance points.
Indiana shot just 41.5 percent from the field in the loss, while the Thunder converted 50.5 percent of their attempts.
Oklahoma City had 41 assists on 47 made field goals on Wednesday, the second-most assists by any team in an NBA game this season. Brooklyn had 42 assists in a 143-113 win over Golden State on Dec. 21.
Postgame Media Availability: Jan. 18, 2023
You Can Quote Me On That
"Trevelin Queen was impressive tonight. He got a real opportunity tonight to get in in the first half...I liked the way he played. He competed hard. He's athletic, he was involved in a lot of plays and played under control." -Carlisle on Queen's contributions
"Just playing hard. Put myself in the right position to score or get my teammates involved, whether that's rebounding, running in transition, bringing the ball up, pick-and-roll. I just feel like I was efficient getting my teammates involved and bringing energy." -Queen on his mindset getting extended minutes
"He played with better pace tonight. He only had one turnover. He did some good things on the playmaking side. His nemesis is fouls. He's always guarding a good player and so continuing to work at defending without committing those two quick fouls...is really important to us with (starting point guard) Tyrese (Haliburton) out." -Carlisle on Nembhard
"I think I just was being more aggressive with the ball, trying to force my way into the paint and create an advantage." -Nembhard on scoring more on Wednesday
"He's a great young player. I don't know what else to say. I think he's a legitimate MVP conversation guy because of the impact he has on their game and what he's doing with his scoring. He may be the scoring champ before it's all over." -Carlisle on facing Gilgeous-Alexander
"It was an honor for me. The kids who were watching the game, it was a great thing for Montreal but also for the Haitian community. Just to have two Haitian-Canadians playing against each other in the NBA, it was a great thing." -Mathurin on playing against his good friend Dort for the first time in the NBA
Stat of the Night
The Pacers' 24 turnovers on Wednesday matched their season high, a mark they originally set on Oct. 31 in Brooklyn. The Thunder scored 36 points off Indiana's turnovers -- the most by a Pacers opponent this season (the previous high was 27 by Charlotte on Jan. 8).
- Wednesday's loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Pacers in Oklahoma City. Indiana's last road loss to the Thunder came on March 27, 2019.
- The Pacers and Thunder will meet once more in the regular season on March 31 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
- Four of the 10 starters for Wednesday's game were Canadian: Ontario natives Nembhard and Gilgeous-Alexander and Montreal natives Mathurin and Dort.
The Pacers' road trip continues in Denver against reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets on Friday, Jan. 20 at 9:00 PM ET.
After a four-game road trip, the Pacers will be back at Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets >>