Paul George and the Clippers spoiled the Pacers' homecoming on Monday night, handing Indiana a 110-99 loss on Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
With fellow All-Star Kawhi Leonard resting a sore knee, the former Pacer George hit 7-of-16 3-pointers and 9-of-11 free throws on his way to 36 points, nine rebounds, and five assists to lead Los Angeles (17-8) over his former team.
Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers (15-9) with 20 points in the loss, while Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and a career-high 22 rebounds.
While the Pacers were back at home for the first time in a week after a five-game road trip, the Clippers were on the second night of a back-to-back on Monday, having played in Washington on Sunday night. Perhaps it was no surprise, then, that both teams looked sluggish early in Monday's contest.
Each team started the night 3-for-14 from the field with seven combined turnovers. As the clock dipped past the halfway point in the first quarter, the score was just 8-6 in favor of the Pacers.
Brogdon drilled the first three of the night to give Indiana a five-point lead with 5:19 remaining in the frame, but the Clippers awakened from there. George scored eight points and Montrezl Harrell added six as Los Angeles surged ahead with a 16-4 run.
"I didn't think we were tired today, I just think we were low energy," Brogdon said after the game.
The Clippers took a 24-19 lead into the second quarter, but the Pacers opened the frame with an 11-4 surge of their own to move back in front. Doug McDermott provided a big boost to the Blue & Gold's offense, drilling three 3-pointers and scoring 11 points in the quarter.
The two teams traded the lead a handful of times, but George broke the game open late in the half. With the Clippers nursing a one-point lead, the six-time All-Star drew a foul on Jeremy Lamb while shooting a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws, then added two more 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions during a 14-3 Clippers run to close the half and take a 60-48 lead into the break.
George and the Clippers extended their lead in the third quarter. The visitors opened the frame with a 12-6 run to make it an 18-point game. The Pacers got back within 13, but George took over, hitting two threes and a jumper in quick succession to spark a 13-2 run that pushed the margin over 20.
George scored 13 points in the third quarter alone as Los Angeles took a 91-73 lead into the fourth.
"I can't explain this game," Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said. "We just shot poorly. We got really good looks but we couldn’t knock down shots. We just never really got anything going. We looked flat."
The Pacers made a final charge in the fourth quarter, using a 17-6 run — capped by a putback basket from Sabonis — to climb within nine with 3:02 remaining.
After a timeout, Harrell slipped the defense for a layup on the other end. But the Pacers kept clawing away, with a Sabonis hook shot and T.J. Warren floater cutting the deficit to 106-99. Indiana got a stop and Warren had an open look from the top of the arc to make it a four-point game, but his shot didn't fall and Maurice Harkless scored on the other end to seal the win for the Clippers.
"You've got to give them credit," McDermott said. "They played well. They took us out of our game a little bit and they're a great team."
McDermott finished with 17 points and six rebounds off the bench, going 5-for-8 from 3-point range. Warren and Lamb had 12 points each in the loss.
Harrell tallied 26 points off the bench on 12-of-22 shooting and eight rebounds for the Clippers. Ivica Zubac added 13 points and eight rebounds and Patrick Beverley finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists.
The Clippers were without All-NBA forward Leonard, who was held out of Monday's contest to manage knee soreness on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Pacers will return to The Fieldhouse on Wednesday, when they host the Boston Celtics in a rematch of last year's first-round playoff series at 7:00 PM ET.
"We're playing some really good teams in the next couple games," Brogdon said. "It's important that we get some of these wins. These are statement games for us."
Inside the Numbers
Sabonis recorded his ninth straight double-double and his 17th in his last 18 games. His 22 rebounds were four more than his previous career best, set at Brooklyn on Nov. 18.
The Clippers outscored Indiana 56-36 in the paint on Monday.
The Pacers shot just 35.4 percent from the field, their second-worst shooting percentage of the season. The Blue & Gold hit only 32 percent of their shots in a loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 16.
Over his last six games, McDermott is 14-for-24 from 3-point range (58.3 percent).
You Can Quote Me On That
"I thought we had open looks that we normally knock down. Was it a hangover from the road trip? I can't say. You just have games like this during the season, and I think it was just one of those nights where we were open but just didn't knock down shots." -McMillan on Indiana's shooting struggles
"I've felt good all good year. Just trying to stay aggressive, trying to hunt shots. I've got to credit the guys that are finding me." -McDermott
"Rebounds are a lot of missed shots and you just have to go get them. I'm always hungry for rebounds. I just had a chance to get more tonight. Sometimes they come your way, sometimes they don't." -Sabonis
"Given the circumstances, I'll always want to win when I come here and I always enjoy playing here. You put those two together and I’m going to compete every possession to try to get a win." -George
Stat of the Night
Sabonis' 22 rebounds are tied for the fourth-most in NBA franchise history in a regular season game and are the most since Dale Davis collected 22 boards on Dec. 30, 1993.
- With the win, the Clippers snapped a three-game losing streak at The Fieldhouse. Their last win in Indianapolis prior to Monday was on Jan. 26, 2016.
- Brogdon returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's win in New York with a sore hand.
- Pacers guard Edmond Sumner saw the floor for the first time since fracturing his hand on Oct. 28. Sumner played 5:38 in the fourth quarter and dished out two assists.
The Pacers continue their homestand by hosting Kemba Walker and the Boston Celtics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »
Special Offer - Pacers Score 90+ Points
Papa John's Pacers90: The day after the Pacers score 90 or more points, you score 50 percent off online pizzas at regular menu price. Order online at papajohns.com with promo code PACERS90. Offer valid in Central Indiana.