Pascal Siakam
(Matt Kryger)

Game Rewind: Pacers 126, Thunder 112

Friday, April 5 at 7:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse

Game Recap: Pacers 126, Thunder 112

Game Recap

The Pacers' path to the playoffs is simple. Win their final five regular season games and they'll lock in a top-six seed and an automatic playoff berth.

They're one win closer to the postseason after handling their business on Friday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse against the undermanned Thunder. Six Pacers scored in double figures as Indiana (44-34) outlasted Oklahoma City (52-25), 126-112.

With the win, Indiana remains in sixth place in the East standings, a half-game up on seventh place Miami heading into a showdown with the Heat on Sunday. The winner of that game will pick up the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker.

Pascal Siakam led the Blue & Gold with 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting, while T.J. McConnell recorded a double-double off the bench with 16 points and 10 assists.

All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton made franchise history in the victory, dishing out 11 assists to give him 714 on the season, surpassing the franchise single-season record of 713 set by Mark Jackson in 1997-98.

"It's a really cool achievement for me," Haliburton said in the postgame locker room. "I think it speaks to the high-octane offense we've been able to create here. And my teammates hitting shots I think is the biggest thing. There's no such thing as assists if guys aren't making shots. I'm just blessed to play with a great group of guys and it makes things like this easy."

Luguentz Dort had 22 points and rookie center Chet Holmgren tallied 15 points and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who were without their two leading scorers.

All-Star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did not travel to Indiana as he deals with a right quad contusion, while second-year wing Jalen Williams did not dress due to a sprained left ankle.

The Thunder surged ahead midway through the opening frame, using a 13-2 run to open up a 22-13 lead.

The visitors led 32-22 following Cason Wallace's layup with 2:08 remaining in the first quarter. But the Pacers — playing with an all-bench lineup — closed the quarter with nine unanswered points. Obi Toppin's corner three in the closing seconds of the frame capped the scoring and the Blue & Gold entered the second quarter trailing by just one.

The second unit's strong play carried over to the ensuing frame, as Indiana opened the second quarter with a 16-5 run. T.J. McConnell scored four points early in that stretch to give the Pacers the lead, then set up Doug McDermott and Ben Sheppard for threes to stretch the margin.

"After a rocky start to the game, our second unit did a great job coming in the first quarter and help turn it around and we were able to sustain a lot of that momentum, which was key," Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said.

Oklahoma City responded with a 9-0 run of their own to get back within one, but the Pacers starters' checked back in and Haliburton took over.

After a Thunder turnover, the Pacers' All-Star guard threw a full-court dime past the defense to Andrew Nembhard for a wide open three in front of the Indiana bench. On Indiana's next two possessions, Haliburton drove and then tossed the ball back over his head to Myles Turner, who drilled a pair of treys from the top of the key.

Just like that, the Pacers led by 10 once again. That's where the margin remained at the intermission, as Indiana took a 69-59 lead into the break.

The Thunder cut into the deficit in the third quarter, using a 12-2 run to get within two with 4:43 remaining in the frame. But Haliburton promptly answered with a 3-pointer (his first points of the night) that triggered a 15-4 run by the Blue & Gold.

That put Indiana in front 97-84 entering the final minute of the third quarter. Oklahoma City scored five straight points to seemingly trim the deficit to single digits entering the fourth, but Haliburton had other ideas, racing up the court and swishing a fadeaway three from the right wing as the buzzer sounded to push the lead back to 100-89.

The Pacers' all-bench lineup once again made a positive impact at the start of the fourth quarter, pushing the the lead to as many as 18 points, and handing off a 111-98 lead to the starters with 6:53 remaining.

The Thunder never seriously threatened the rest of the way as Indiana pulled away for an important victory.

Aaron Nesmith scored 17 points while going 4-for-7 from 3-point range in the victory. Toppin tallied 15 points and six rebounds off the bench, while fellow reserve Jalen Smith registered 12 points and six boards despite exiting in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.

Turner finished with 16 points in just 18 minutes on Friday, going 6-for-11 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range despite having his right index finger taped after dislocating it on Monday against Brooklyn.

Josh Giddey narrowly missed out on a triple-double for the Thunder with 14 points, nine rebounds, and 12 assists. Kenrich Williams scored 18 points off the bench on 7-of-7 shooting, while Lindy Waters III tallied 12.

The Pacers host the Heat on Sunday before embarking on their final road trip of the regular season next week, with visits to Toronto on Tuesday and Cleveland on Friday. They will close out the regular season by hosting Atlanta on Sunday, April 14.

"Every single game matters," Siakam said ahead of Sunday's showdown with Miami. "Every possession, we've got to go out, give it everything we got. At the end of the day, it's just about going out there and hooping. We've got to be the hardest-playing team.

"We know the energy that they're going to have, knowing the type of team that they are, they're going to come in ready and we've got to do the same. It's going to be fun. We've got to enjoy it. You want to be in those situations."

Inside the Numbers

The Pacers shot 52.5 percent from the field, 15-for-34 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range, and 19-for-21 (90.5 percent) from the free throw line.

Siakam has scored 20 or more points 22 times since being acquired by the Pacers on Jan. on Jan. 17, including seven of his past nine games.

The Pacers entered the night leading the league in bench points at 46.3 points per game and their reserves outscored the Thunder's bench 61-44 on Friday night.

McConnell recorded his fourth double-double of the season.

The Thunder outscored Indiana 62-50 in points in the paint.

The Pacers are 39-13 this season when six or more players reach double figures.

Indiana Pacers Postgame Media Availability (vs Oklahoma City Thunder) | April 5, 2024

You Can Quote Me On That

"Mark was a great player. Mark was top two or three all-time in assists for a while. He was a real master. And Tyrese has a lot of the same qualities. He has the vision. He knows his personnel. He has a great sense for timing, when to deliver the ball, how to deliver it. That record stood for a long time. Mark Jackson was that good a player here." -Carlisle on Haliburton breaking Jackson's franchise record

"One of if not the most elite passers I've ever played with or seen. I mean, I can't wrap my mind around it. The guy gets 10-plus assists in his sleep. I can't really relate to that. I expend all my energy trying to get 10 assists and the guy does it at will. He's just such a willing and elite passer and just makes our team so much better." -McConnell on Haliburton setting the franchise assists record

"It's so easy for him. He's got that vision and he's able to make those passes — the simple ones, the difficult ones, the spectacular ones. He can do all of them well. It's super impressive." -Siakam on Haliburton's passing

"Really just trying to let the game come to me. I feel like when I drive, a lot of teams are staying home on our shooters and bigs, so it kind of opens up the lane for me. Just trying to get downhill and create a problem. And if that's getting to the rim or pulling up from the midrange and shooting the open three, that's what I've got to do." -McConnell on his increased scoring input over the last month

"The ball just pops when they play. They play random basketball, they defend, they get the ball moving, they've got guys flying around. I think Shepp and Obi are two of our best guys offensively (in the halfcourt with how they) do a good job of getting off the ball, moving without the ball. I think having those two guys with how T.J.'s been playing and you've got (Jackson) and (Smith) interchangeable (at the five), that really helps us. Those guys just really run and play our brand of basketball really well." -Haliburton on the second unit's impact on Friday's win

"I feel like one through five, all of our motors are elite. We get up and down really well. When we sit down and get stops, I think that takes us to another level. And tonight we did that. We're aware that we weren't as good as we should have been (on Wednesday) against Brooklyn...To respond the way that we did shows our maturity." -McConnell on the bench making an impact

Stat of the Night

Haliburton is now the franchise's single-season record holder, dishing out 714 assists in just 65 games. Jackson needed 82 games to record 713 assists in 1997-98.


  • With Friday's win, the Pacers swept the season series with the Thunder for the third time in the last five seasons.
  • Brownsburg native and former Butler star Gordon Hayward got the start for the Thunder and tallied seven points in 13 first-half minutes, but did not play in the second half due to left lower leg soreness.
  • Smith sprained his left ankle with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter. He limped off the court and briefly went to the locker room before returning and riding the exercise bike in the tunnel. Carlisle said after the game Smith was available to go back in if needed, though he would be reevaluated on Saturday.

Up Next

The Pacers host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat in a game with major playoff implications on Sunday, April 7 at 5:00 PM ET at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Find Tickets >>