The Pacers (2-6) ended their four-game losing skid in spectacular fashion Monday night. The squad used a season-high 78 first-half points to earn a 22-point halftime lead en route to toppling the San Antonio Spurs (2-5), 131-118.
Coming into tonight, the Spurs (2-5) were surrendering an average of 99 points to opponents – the fourth-lowest in the league. Indiana reached the 100-point mark with 4:51 left in the third quarter. The Blue & Gold finished 52-91 (57.1 percent) from the floor and 18-of-38 (47.4 percent) from deep.
"It was a much-needed win against a team that had just beaten the world champions," Rick Carlisle said. "It's one to feel good about."
In all, six Pacers finished in double figures, including all five starters. Domantas Sabonis led the way with a 24-point, 13-rebound double-double. Myles Turner followed with 19, while Chris Duarte added 18. Justin Holiday tallied a season-high 17 off the bench, including five made triples.
After an inauspicious start, Indiana jumped out to a 17-13 lead over San Antonio with 6:39 to play in the first. LeVert led the charge, drilling a pair of threes and finishing a Spurs' turnover with a thunderous two-handed slam that forced a timeout from head coach Gregg Popovich. He finished his second game with 16 points and seven assists and played 11:18 in the second half.
"We've been missing him," Turner said of LeVert. "He's someone to go out there and break down the defense, create for himself, and create for others. It's a luxury to have that on your team."
Out of the timeout, the Pacers kept on charging. Indiana mounted a 10-3 run, including eight unanswered, over 1:49 to extend its lead to double digits for the first time. Myles Turner tallied seven points of the spree, including a tough and-one finish in the paint.
With 2:54 to play, former Butler star Kelan Martin checked into a game for the first time this season. Immediately, he made an impact, rolling in a layup through a foul to push the squad's lead to 35-24. Martin was sidelined for the first seven games due to a hamstring injury.
Indiana finished with a season-high 43 points in the first quarter to take a 10-point lead into the second. The squad finished 8-of-10 from deep.
The Pacers stretched their lead to 12 before San Antonio used an 8-2 run to cut it to 47-41 with 8:58 to play. The Spurs did their damage in the paint, finding lanes between Sabonis and Goga Bitadze.
However, the Blue & Gold quickly extended the lead back to double digits after LeVert hit 1-of-2 free throws and Holiday buried a corner three with a hand in his face.
As the frame approached the halfway mark, the squads traded buckets for eight consecutive possessions. However, the Blue & Gold finally broke the trend, forcing three straight Spurs turnovers en route to extending their lead to 67-51 with 4:19 remaining.
From there, Indiana finished the half strong. The squad limited the Spurs to just five more points over the final four minutes, and LeVert drilled a cold-blooded, 27-foot step-back triple with 0.3 seconds left to take a 22-point edge into the break.
There were not any third-quarter woes tonight. Indiana kept a comfortable lead throughout the first half of the third by matching the Spurs' buckets equally. T.J. McConnell and Sabonis did most of the offensive damage, combining for eight of the Pacers' first 12 points of the frame.
After a timeout at the 6:23 mark, the Blue & Gold found more success beyond the arc. Leading 90-71, Holiday nailed his fifth trey to extend the lead back to 22. A few possessions later, Duarte buried his third of the night. Sabonis then followed with a flush to hit the century mark and force a Spurs timeout with 4:51 left.
San Antonio did not do much to threaten the Pacers' lead late in the third. Indiana stopped a run of five unanswered with a pair of Turner free throws to lead 102-80 with 1:50 to go. The Blue & Gold led 109-83 entering the final frame after LeVert added yet another last-second shot.
The Spurs did not threaten early in the fourth either. A trey from Lonnie Walker brought the visitors to within 20 of the lead. But, Martin and Duarte countered with threes of their own to push Indiana's lead to 119-95 with 6:10 to go.
Six straight from former Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop helped the Spurs cut Indiana's lead under 20 points. However, Torrey Craig and Martin swiftly denied any chance for a magical comeback. Martin's triple from the left wing with 3:56 to play all but sealed the deal for the squad as it pushed the lead up to 124-103.
Monday was a breath of fresh air for the Blue & Gold, who have lost a few close matchups in the early part of the season. Indiana hopes to use this victory as momentum for their next matchup — a bout against a tough New York Knicks squad on Wednesday.
Inside the Numbers
T.J. McConnell started for the third time this season in replace of Malcolm Brogdon. McConnell finished with a double-double — tallying 10 points and 10 assists in 26:27 of playing time
The Pacers finished with a season-high 37 assists.
Kelan Martin finished with eight points, including two 3-pointers, and three assists in his first game back from injury.
Indiana won the rebounding battle, 39-36.
You Can Quote Me On That
"When everybody is scoring in double figures like that, when everybody is touching the ball, that's the best way to play the game. Everybody feels involved and everybody contributes. It pays its dividends." –Turner on the balanced scoring effort and assists tonight
"I think we had a lot of energy on the offensive end — guys moving, the ball moving, getting downhill. I think also, at the end of the day, Domas (Sabonis) brings so much attention to him. Sometimes people are worried about him." –Holiday on hitting five of the team's 18 3-point shots tonight
"We knew we had a lead at halftime. That was all we talked about in the locker room as a team. Like, 'third quarter – we've got to come out strong. We can't let this one slide.'" – Sabonis on avoiding the third-quarter pitfall
Stat of the Night
Indiana finished with season-highs in 3-point shots made (18) and 3-point percentage (47.4). They made 12 of their 21 first-half attempts.
- Indiana has won six of their last eight contests against the Spurs.
- Chris Duarte has scored in double figures in all eight of his NBA games.
- The Pacers led by as many as 26 in the game.
The Pacers conclude a three-game homestand by hosting Julius Randle and the New York Knicks at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7:00 PM ET. Find Tickets »