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Game Rewind: Pacers 133, Clippers 139

Recap

Looking for a spark, the Pacers headed West to start a five-game road trip with an afternoon bout against a slumping Los Angeles Clippers squad at Crypto.com Arena.

After a trio of sub-100 point performances, the Clippers erupted for 139 points on 54.9 percent shooting to topple the Pacers, 139-133. LA (22-23) finished 18-for-36 (50 percent) from deep, including seven from Nicolas Batum. The 13-year veteran finished with a game-high 32 points – all in the second half.

Seven Pacers finished in double figures as the squad rallied back from several double-digit deficits to make it a close game. Caris LeVert had a team-high 26 and nine rebounds, and rookie Chris Duarte added 24 on an efficient 10-of-14 shooting.

“(I’m) just letting the game come to me,” Duarte said of his solid performance. “We did a lot of good things out there. We played fast, we moved the ball well in (stretches), and we made a good run. So, that all helps.”

Domantas Sabonis tallied 19 points and 11 rebounds for his 31st double-double this season. Playing extended minutes in place of Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze finished with a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and eight boards off the bench.

Yet, the squad never led.

The Pacers (15-29) clawed their way back to within five in the final minute and had possession with 36.6 seconds remaining. Out of a timeout, LeVert sank an eight-foot fadeaway to give the game a 133-130 score with 31.3 seconds to go.

However, on the Clippers’ ensuing inbounds play, the Pacers’ defense had an untimely lapse. After curling around a screen, Reggie Jackson had a wide-open lane to the net and finished with a slam with 28.8 seconds left. LeVert committed an offensive foul on Indiana’s next possession, deflating Indiana’s sails for good.

A slow start to the Pacers' offense produced an early Clippers lead. With Turner sidelined due to a sore foot, LA used seven-footer Ivica Zubac to control the paint. The big man notched eight early points, helping LA grab an 18-9 lead with 6:56 to play in the first quarter.

Despite a Pacers timeout, the Clippers’ lead widened. Leading by six, the hosts mounted an 8-0 run to earn a 26-12 advantage with 5:09 remaining. Two-way player Amir Coffey anchored the run by hitting six straight, including a four-point play.

The Blue & Gold cut the lead to nine on Oshae Brissett’s triple with 3:16 to play. However, that would be as close as they would get for the rest of the frame. LA led 40-27 after one.

“Giving up 40 in the first quarter was a real killer in this game,” Rick Carlisle said postgame. “We’re going to have to do a better job at the beginning of the game, particularly defensively.”

The Pacers’ bench kept the squad within striking distance in the second. With Lance Stephenson running point, Bitadze and Brissett knocked in easy buckets off turnovers to give Indiana some momentum. Then, a pair of LeVert free throws cut the score to 45-35 with 8:49 remaining.

Indiana cut LA's lead down to seven. But, 10-year veterans Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson knocked in triples to extend the lead back to double digits.

However, the Blue & Gold responded. Led by Duarte and LeVert, the squad mounted a run of 13 unanswered points to trim the deficit to 54-52 with 2:42 remaining. Duarte tallied five of the run, while LeVert added four.

At the 1:58 mark, Duane Washington Jr. nailed a three to cut Indiana’s deficit to a single point. However, LA rallied for five straight, extending the lead back to six with 1:03 left.

Then, leading 65-59, Eric Bledsoe picked up an offensive rebound and found Morris on the perimeter. Morris calmly drilled a wide-open three, pushing the gap back to nine before halftime.

The squads matched each other nearly shot-for-shot early in the third. However, LA finally broke the trend with Batum’s third and fourth triples. The buckets stretched the Clippers’ lead to 87-72 with 7:26 remaining.

Over the next few minutes, LA slowly built up its lead. Morris found easy points in the paint. Then, Isaiah Hartenstein bullied his way to the charity stripe. He would add a dunk at the 4:41 mark to give LA a 98-78 advantage.

Buckets from Bitadze and Duarte attempted to give Indiana a spark. But, Terance Mann stifled the thought, providing the Clippers with six straight points. His alley-oop finish with 2:14 to play gave LA a 103-85 lead. LA led by 14 after three quarters.

Batum started the frame with his fifth trey. However, the Pacers responded with 10 unanswered to trim the deficit to 107-100 with 8:14 remaining. Duarte tallied six of the spree and added a dish to Sabonis for another bucket.

Later, with Indiana trailing 112-105, the Clippers leaned on Jackson to extend the lead back to double digits. The veteran knocked in six straight, including a thunderous left-handed dunk at the 6:22 mark. Although Bitadze’s three slowed his run, Jackson added two more at the line to give LA a 120-108 edge.

Holiday added five unanswered in 35 seconds to trim the gap to seven with 5:09 left. But, Batum continued his hot streak from deep and hit 3-pointers six and seven to put LA ahead 128-117 at the 3:43 mark. Later, he hit the 30-point mark with a layup in the paint.

Holiday finished with 18 points, including five made threes. Brissett had 13 off the bench while Washington added 10 to round out Indiana’s top performers for the game. Jackson and Morris had 26 and 21, respectively, for the Clippers.

Inside the Numbers

Indiana gave up 40 points in the first quarter for the first time this season

The Pacers’ bench had a stellar night, outscoring LA’s reserves, 56-34

The Blue & Gold finished 50-of-97 (51.5 percent) from the floor and 13-of-33 (39.4 percent) from deep

Indiana scored a season-high 43 points in the fourth quarter

You Can Quote Me On That

“I think Goga (Bitadze) was very patient. He took advantage of the opportunity that was given to him. He did a really good job. He was moving, finding himself open, and we did a good job by giving him the ball. He took advantage of that.” – Duarte on Bitadze’s big night

“I think the first 12 minutes, they got loose for a couple threes. I think that was a theme throughout the whole game. They were getting in the paint from the pick and roll. We were overhelping. They were getting a lot of catch-and-shoot threes.” – LeVert’s overall takeaways

“Goga did a lot of good things. He rebounds the ball. He has a really good feel for the game. When you’re playing against teams that like to muck it up with a lot of switching and junk, he navigates that well.” – Carlisle on Bitadze

Stat of the Night

The Clippers’ 139 points are the most allowed by the Pacers this season. They surrendered 135 in an overtime loss to the Wizards on Oct. 22

Noteworthy

  • Lance Stephenson surpassed 1,500 career assists after tallying five tonight
  • The Pacers have lost five straight to the Clippers dating back to Feb. 7, 2019
  • Indiana falls to 3-17 on the road this season. They have not won a road contest since Nov. 22 against the Chicago Bulls (109-77).

Tickets

After a five-game Western Conference road trip, the Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »