featured-image

Game Rewind: Pacers 113, Pelicans 117

Game Recap

Duane Washington Jr. and the Pacers headed into New Orleans on Monday night intending to secure a win and head home to Indianapolis with a winning record on their five-game Western Conference road trip.

Washington helped keep that scenario in play into the final minute, as the two-way guard out of Ohio State set a team rookie record with seven 3-pointers. But Indiana (17-31) came up a shot short, as the Pelicans (18-28) surged ahead midway through the fourth quarter and held on for a 117-113 win.

It wasn't the result the Pacers wanted, but it was still a momentous night for Washington. The 21-year-old, playing in just his 16th career game, scored a team-high 21 points in 23 minutes off the bench, going 7-for-12 from 3-point range.

"I just had a good rhythm coming into the game," Washington said. "I had a good warm up. My guys believe in me to make shots, and they put me in some great positions tonight to make a lot."

Despite playing without leading scorer Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans got off to a hot start offensively. The hosts connected on seven of their first nine attempts on Monday, jumping out to an early 17-10 lead.

The Pacers charged back and surged ahead later in the opening frame, using an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the night at 27-23. Rookie guard Chris Duarte scored four points over that stretch and racked up 11 in 10 first-quarter minutes.

New Orleans tied the score at 29 on Nickeil Alexander-Walker's layup with 1:17 left in the first, but Lance Stephenson's corner three on the other end put Indiana back in front. The Blue & Gold took a 32-31 lead into the second quarter.

The Pacers got on the board first in the ensuing frame thanks to a Washington 3-pointer. New Orleans answered with a 10-3 run, only for the Indiana to respond in kind with 10 straight points, including another trey from Washington and a pair of buckets by third-year center Goga Bitadze.

The Blue & Gold remained in front for the majority of the quarter, but two Devonte' Graham free throws with 59.7 seconds left in the first half put the Pelicans back ahead, 59-58. The two teams traded the lead three more times in the final minute, with Torrey Craig's putback layup being the final blow to give Indiana a one-point lead at the intermission.

The Pacers extended their lead to 72-66 on Justin Holiday's 3-pointer at 8:32 in the third quarter. But they went scoreless for nearly five minutes afterwards, with their next points coming on Caris LeVert's triple at 3:48.

The Pelicans weren't exactly lighting it up over that stretch, however. New Orleans scored eight straight to take a brief lead, but LeVert's three put Indiana back in front. LeVert scored seven straight for the visitors to give them a 79-76 lead with 2:44 remaining in the frame.

Once again, the Blue & Gold went cold, failing to score for the remainder of the quarter. New Orleans managed seven points over that span to take an 83-79 advantage into the fourth.

Josh Hart's 3-pointer on the opening possession of the final frame pushed the Pelicans' lead to seven, but Indiana quickly whittled away at its deficit. They eventually tied the game at 92 when Washington connected on his fourth three of the night at 7:35, then moved in front 30 seconds later when Stephenson found Washington on the left wing for yet another trey.

The Pelicans took a timeout and came out firing out of the break. Rookie Herbert Jones' layup made it a one-point game, Alexander-Walker's basket put the hosts back in front, and Graham's three capped a 7-0 spurt and forced Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle to take a timeout of his own.

Two free throws by Hart out of the break extended New Orleans' lead to 101-95. Craig's 3-pointer with 4:17 remaining cut the margin in half and Bitadze hit one of two foul shots on Indiana's next possession to make it a two-point game.

Graham and Washington traded 3-pointers the next two trips down the floor. The Pelicans drew fouls on their next two possessions, making three of four free throws to push their lead to 107-102 as the game hit the two-minute mark.

The Pacers had three looks from beyond the 3-point arc over the next minute, but LeVert missed twice and Washington once over that span. Valanciunas then scored off a dish from Alexander-Walker to extend the lead to seven with 1:01 to play.

Out of a timeout, Washington drilled his seventh trey with 57.3 seconds remaining. After the Blue & Gold got a stop at the other end, Washington had another look to cut the deficit to one, but couldn't get it to fall. Hart secured the rebound as the clock ticked under 30 seconds and the hosts secured the win at the free throw line.

"They hit some shots, and I think we were rushing on the other end to try to get the score back," LeVert said. "It kind of worked into their favor, and I think later when we started getting better shots, that's when we started to climb back in it. But we just got to stay poised."

LeVert, back on the court after missing the previous two games with a calf injury, had 19 points on 8-of-21 shooting, six rebounds, and eight assists. Duarte added 14 points, Craig scored 13, and Bitadze managed 12 points and five rebounds despite battling foul trouble much of the night.

Graham led all scorers with 25 points, going 8-for-14 from the field and 5-for-9 from 3-point range, and also dished out six assists. Hart added 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Valanciunas also registered a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards.

The Pacers will return to Indianapolis to host Charlotte on Wednesday before embarking on another trip over the weekend to Oklahoma City and Dallas.

Inside the Numbers

Washington's 21 points surpassed his previous high of 20, set on Jan. 2 in Cleveland.

The Pacers outscored New Orleans by 39 points from 3-point range. Indiana went 19-for-46 (41.3 percent) from 3-point range, while the Pelicans were just 6-for-30 (20 percent). New Orleans players other than Graham were a combined 1-for-21.

On the other hand, the Pelicans dominated on the interior, outscoring the Pacers 64-32 in the paint.

Duarte reached double figures for the fifth straight game and the 11th time in his last 13 contests.

The Pelicans won the turnover battle, forcing 17 Indiana giveaways while only committing 11 themselves.

You Can Quote Me On That

"Duane Washington is always ready. He's always on. He's been a great practice player ever since Summer League, he's had some tremendous days in training camp, he's done a lot of good things recently. He can shoot the ball. He knows how to play the game. He brings energy and his presence on the floor creates a real positive vibe." -Carlisle on Washington

"He played real fearless out there tonight, and that's who he is. He's a young player who loves big moments, and I think he showed that tonight. He played great for us, he knocked down his open shots. He made mistakes and still kept pushing. You love to see that in young players.." -LeVert on Washington

"Just having the knack to find a way to put the ball in the rim. You kind of know where your shot is going to come from, and I'm still learning every day. I'm not sure what game this is for me, so just continuing to put good days together, learning from my mistakes, and applying what I learn to the next game, next opportunity." -Washington on continuing to adjust to the NBA

Stat of the Night

Washington's seven 3-pointers broke the previous franchise rookie record, which was shared by two players, including one of his teammates. Chuck Person went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc on Feb. 11, 1987 against Phoenix, while Duarte was 6-for-9 in his NBA debut on Oct. 20 in Charlotte.

Noteworthy

  • The Pacers and Pelicans split the season series. Indiana won 111-94 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Nov. 20.
  • Indiana is just 2-13 on the season in games decided by four points or less.
  • Ingram did not play for New Orleans after spraining his right ankle in the team's last game, a 102-91 win in New York on Thursday.

Up Next

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 »