The Pacers pulled off their most improbable win of the season on Monday night in New Orleans.
Victor Oladipo's heroics sent the game into overtime, where Malcolm Brogdon scored the game-winning basket in the final seconds to lift Indiana (5-2) to a 118-116 win over the Pelicans (4-3).
The Pelicans had used a 19-2 run earlier in the fourth quarter to turn a seven-point deficit into a 10-point lead, but the Pacers didn't quit.
With the Pacers trailing 106-100, Oladipo pulled up from well beyond the 3-point arc and drained a three with 20.5 seconds remaining. Oladipo then rushed up the floor to pressure the ensuing inbounds pass, ultimately stripping Lonzo Ball and dishing the ball out to Brogdon, who passed to Myles Turner at the top of the key.
Turner had been bothered by foul trouble the entire night, but didn't hesitate to shoot the three, swishing the game-tying shot with 6.9 seconds remaining.
"I'm very confident in everything I do," Turner said after the game. "Obviously, it was a big shot. I had struggled most of the game with foul trouble and stuff, but I'm always ready for moments like that. I just let the game come to me."
It wasn't quite eight points in nine seconds, but it was a similarly improbable sequence, with the Pacers somehow tying a game that felt all but over mere moments earlier.
Brandon Ingram missed a potential game-winner in regulation, but then blocked Oladipo on the other end to send the game to overtime.
Indiana led 111-110 in the extra session after Turner's three-point play, but New Orleans retook the lead on Ingram's jumper with 2:04 remaining.
Oladipo answered with the go-ahead layup 18 seconds later, then added a 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining to pad Indiana's lead.
After a timeout, Zion Williamson scored and drew Turner's sixth foul in the process. Williamson missed the ensuing free throw, but Steven Adams came up with the offensive rebound. Ingram had a look at the rim to tie the game, but missed a contested layup, and the ball went out of bounds off New Orleans.
Williamson then stripped Oladipo on the other end, allowing Ball to run out for the tying layup.
But Brogdon took over from there, taking the ball at his former teammate Eric Bledsoe and bouncing in a right-handed runner with 1.7 seconds left. New Orleans was out of timeouts and forced to heave a fullcourt inbounds pass in the closing seconds. Williamson couldn't corral it as the Blue & Gold came away with a memorable victory.
"It was pretty simple," Brogdon said of his game-winner. "Coach (Nate Bjorkgren) trusted me with the ball, he wanted me to get to my spot and make the last shot. I got to my spot and it dropped."
Oladipo led the Pacers with 25 points, five rebounds, six assists, and two steals. Brogdon added 21 points, seven boards, 11 assists, and two steals. The backcourt duo also went a combined 9-for-20 from 3-point range.
"They didn't quit for a second," Bjorkgren said. "Even through overtime and at the end there, they made some big defensive plays that we were able to run out and get some better looks down there at the offensive end. Different guys stepped up tonight, different guys made different plays during the course of the game."
Neither team led by more than six in a tightly contested first quarter. Oladipo led the Pacers with nine points in the frame and the visitors surged ahead in the closing minutes with a 7-0 run to help them take a 26-24 lead into the second quarter.
The Pelicans opened the second quarter with an 8-2 run to surge back in front. New Orleans led for much of the frame, but Indiana retook the lead for the remainder of the half on Brogdon's 3-pointer with 52.2 seconds left and took a 53-51 advantage into halftime.
Williamson scored eight quick points after the intermission as New Orleans opened the third quarter with a 12-3 run. Things got worse for Indiana after Turner picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in quick succession and had to check out of the game with 8:36 remaining in the quarter.
Still, the Pacers remained within striking distance before mounting a charge to close the frame. The Pelicans had a 77-71 lead with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter before Domantas Sabonis scored on the interior, then dished to Brogdon for a corner three on the next possession. After a Bledsoe miss, Brogdon corralled the rebound and pushed the break, dishing to Justin Holiday for another 3-pointer.
That 8-0 run in 57 seconds gave the Blue & Gold a 79-77 lead that they would take into the fourth quarter.
Bjorkgren left Brogdon and Sabonis in the game to start the final frame along with three members of the second unit and that lineup initially delivered.
Though a JJ Redick 3-pointer briefly allowed New Orleans to regain the lead, Indiana answered with a 10-2 surge, featuring a Doug McDermott dunk, Brogdon three, Sabonis jumper, and McDermott trey.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker and McDermott then traded 3-pointers before the Pelicans mounted a charge of their own. New Orleans outscored Indiana 16-2 over the next three and a half minutes. Ball's 3-pointer with 5:35 to play put the hosts back in front and another three by Ball 1:15 later pushed the Pelicans' lead to 101-94.
Bjorkgren took a timeout at that point, but things quickly went from bad to worse. The Pacers turned the ball over on their first possession out of the timeout and Ingram scored on the other end, fouling out Sabonis in the process.
Indiana trailed by 10, but managed to trim the deficit to 106-100 with 1:38 remaining. Brogdon and Holiday both had open looks to cut that deficit in half over the Pacers' next two possessions but couldn't convert. But that just set the stage for Oladipo's heroics to force overtime.
"My team did a great job of weathering the storms tonight," Oladipo said. "Domas fouled out, we weathered the storm. Down six with a minute left, we weathered the storm. It's a great team and I'm honored and privileged to be a part of it."
Sabonis recorded his seventh straight double-double despite fouling out, tallying 19 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Turner added 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and three blocks, while McDermott scored 11 points off the bench.
Ingram led the Pelicans with 31 points and eight assists in the loss. Williamson added 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Ball finished with 18 points, six boards, and six assists.
The Pacers will return to Indianapolis for a two-game homestand beginning Wednesday before embarking on a five-game Western Conference road trip next week.
Inside the Numbers
Monday's game featured 11 ties and 20 lead changes, with neither team leading by more than 10.
Brogdon tallied his first double-double of the season and the 13th of his career. He had nine last season in his first year with the Pacers.
Indiana pulled out the win despite being outrebounded 57-42 overall and 16-5 on the offensive glass. The Pelicans outscored the Pacers 22-5 in second-chance points.
Monday's game was the fifth time in seven games this season that Turner has blocked three or more shots.
Brogdon played the entire second half and overtime. He played a total of 45:45. Holiday, despite coming off the bench, logged 44:56.
You Can Quote Me On That
"I thought he got more aggressive. He was aggressive going to the rim on offense, he hit big shots, but defensively he became more physical. That's what we need out of him. He's a great athlete, can move really, and has got great size. He's got great heart, too." -Bjorkgren on Turner's play in the fourth quarter and overtime
"This team has done a good job of knowing who needs the ball and when. Victor hit some big shots there and obviously Malcolm's last shot there close to the buzzer...Malcolm and Victor both know that each one of them is going to be called upon late in those situations." -Bjorkgren on Brogdon and Oladipo taking over late
"If the nation doesn't know, I know Indianapolis knows, this team doesn't quit. It's a new coaching staff, but we have the same players, the same grit, the same grind we play with, and just a winner's mentality. That will carry you a long way." -Turner
"Coach has got all the fight in the world. The whole time down the stretch, with a minute left, 38 seconds left, (he was saying), 'It's not over! It's not over!' That's all he kept repeating from the sideline...We believed that and we made something happen down the stretch." -Oladipo on Bjorkgren
Stat of the Night
One game after matching the franchise record with 19 3-pointers, the Pacers again made 19 shots from beyond the arc on Monday. Indiana was 19-for-45 from 3-point range against the Pelicans. Oladipo (five), Brogdon (four), Holiday (three), McDermott (three), and Turner (two) all made multiple shots from beyond the arc, as the Pacers outscored New Orleans 57-27 from 3-point range.
- Monday's win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Pacers against the Pelicans.
- After only logging a total of four minutes in mop-up duty over the first six games, reserve big man JaKarr Sampson played just under nine minutes off the bench on Monday, finishing with seven points while going 2-for-3 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.
- Indiana and New Orleans will meet once more on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.
The Pacers return home to host James Harden and the Houston Rockets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 7:00 PM ET.