After a difficult three-game road trip, the Pacers (6-11) return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to take on the New Orleans Pelicans (3-14) on Saturday night. Both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back, with Indiana coming off an eventual 121-118 loss at Charlotte.
For the first two-and-a-half quarters on Friday, the Pacers put together a lackluster performance, falling into a 25-point hole, the nadir of an 0-3 road trip. But after head coach Rick Carlisle benched his starters midway through the third quarter, the Blue & Gold got much better effort from its bench.
Indiana's reserves scratched and clawed their way back all the way until the final buzzer. They trimmed the deficit to 13 entering the fourth quarter, to seven minutes into the final frame, and then mounted a furious rally over the final 1:32, forcing four turnovers during an 8-1 run and actually having the ball in the final seconds with a chance to force overtime, but couldn't get a clean look.
After the game, Carlisle had plenty of praise for the way the bench fought, while putting blame on himself for the lack of energy earlier in the game that led to the large deficit.
"That's on me," Carlisle said. "I take full responsibility. I'm deciding who starts and who's out there to start the second half. I've got to do a better job of getting these guys ready to play."
The starters will be more rested than usual on the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday and the hope is that they come with inspired energy from the opening tip.
The Pelicans own one of the league's worst records, but have been playing better of late. After starting the year 1-12, they've won two of their last four, including a 94-81 win over the Clippers on Friday. Their improved play has coincided with the return of leading scorer Brandon Ingram, who missed seven games with a hip injury. Ingram had his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds
Pacers: PG - Malcolm Brogdon, SG - Chris Duarte, SF - Caris LeVert, PF - Domantas Sabonis, C - Myles Turner
Pelicans: PG - Devonte' Graham, SG - Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SF - Josh Hart, PF - Brandon Ingram, C - Jonas Valanciunas
Pacers: Isaiah Jackson - out (G League assignment), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
Pelicans: Devonte' Graham - questionable (sore left foot), Daulton Hommes - out (right fibular stress fracture), Zion Williamson - out (right foot fracture)
Feb. 5, 2021: The Pacers rallied from an 18-point deficit to take a late lead, but ultimately fell to New Orleans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, 114-113.
The two teams were tied at 110 after Doug McDermott's 3-pointer with 1:54 to play, but back-to-back baskets by Steven Adams and Brandon Ingram gave the hosts a four-point lead in the final minute. Myles Turner hit a three to make it a one-point game and after a stop, the Blue & Gold had a chance to take a lead. But Turner missed the potential game-winning shot in the final seconds, as the Pelicans escaped with a road victory.
"It can be cool to talk about how we came back," Justin Holiday said postgame. "But what we're trying to do every time we come on the floor is put a full game together."
Holiday had a team-high 22 points, going 7-for-13 from 3-point range. Jeremy Lamb added 17 points, six rebounds, and three steals, while McDermott scored 14 off the bench.
Ingram led all scorers with 30 points to go along with six rebounds and seven assists. Lonzo Ball added 20 points and nine boards, while Zion Williamson tallied 18 points and five assists.
- The Pelicans have won in their last two visits to Indianapolis.
- Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham and Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb were teammates in Charlotte in the 2018-19 season.
- The Pacers are 4-2 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse so far this season, but just 2-9 on the road.
The Pacers will return from a three-game road trip to host the New Orleans Pelicans at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)