GAME RECAP: Pacers 112, Suns 87
T.J. Warren scores 25 points and grabs three boards as the Pacers beat the Suns, 112-87.
T.J. Warren scores 25 points and grabs three boards as the Pacers beat the Suns, 112-87.
Jan. 22, 2019 - Nate McMillan, T.J. Warren, T.J. McConnell and Domantas Sabonis discuss Warren's return to Phoenix and the team's win over the Suns.
January 22, 2020 - Goga Bitadze attracts multiple defenders and dishes it to JaKarr Sampson for the dunk.
January 22, 2020 - Domantas Sabonis passes with perfect touch to a cutting Doug McDermott, who finishes with the reverse layup.
January 22, 2020 - T.J. Warren cuts into the lane and hits the smooth finish.
January 22, 2020 - T.J. McConnell lofts a pass over the defense to T.J. Warren, who puts in the alley-oop layup.
January 22, 2020 - T.J. McConnell gains a head of steam and goes behind the back to help create space for the layup.
January 22, 2020 - Domantas Sabonis uses great footwork to work in the post and hit the running hook with the foul.
January 22, 2020 - T.J. Warren blocks Devin Booker's shot and then runs the fastbreak to hit the tough layup.
January 22, 2020 - Domantas Sabonis backs down from the wing, loses his defender and finishes at the room.
January 22, 2020 - Myles Turner posts up the smaller defender and hits the shot plus the foul.
Game Rewind: Pacers 112, Suns 87
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 9:00 PM ET at Talking Stick Resort Arena
Back on track.
After a 30-point loss to the Utah Jazz two nights ago, the Pacers (29-16) bounced back with a wire-to-wire 112-87 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Blue & Gold have now won six straight against the team from the Valley of the Sun.
After earning a six-point lead after the first half, the Blue & Gold outscored the Suns 58-39 to cruise to the victory. The defense held the Suns to just 30-of-84 (35.7 percent) shooting on their home court, including 4-of-20 (20 percent) from deep.
With 6:20 left in the third quarter, Indiana used the momentum of a coach's challenge to reel off a 16-2 run that clinched the game for good. It was the fourth consecutive challenge that Pacers head coach Nate McMillan has won.
In his first game against his former team, T.J. Warren tallied a game-high 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting, while Domantas Sabonis notched his 34th double-double of the season with 24 points and 13 boards. Three Indiana reserves also finished in double figures. T.J. McConnell finished with a double-double, tallying 10 points and a game-high 11 assists. The former Arizona guard finished the game in relief of Malcolm Brogdon, who left late in the first half and never returned. Brogdon required three stitches on his forehead after meeting Myles Turner's elbow while fighting for a rebound.
The Blue & Gold halted Deandre Ayton's three-game scoring streak of 25 points or more. After being in foul trouble for most of the night, he finished with 10. The NBA's eighth-leading scorer, Devin Booker, finished with 16 — more than 10 below his average.
Both teams started out sluggish, combining for an 8-for-23 start from the floor. But Indiana held the upper hand, after Malcolm Brogdon's step-back jumper gave Indiana its first multi-possession lead, 12-8, at the 6:28 mark of the frame.
Six consecutive points from T.J. Warren helped the Blue & Gold maintain a slim lead heading into the final stint of the first. Warren connected on two driving layups, then a tough free-throw line jumper off a ball screen to grab an 18-14 lead for Indiana with 4:45 remaining.
As the Pacers' bench rotated in, the pressure on the Suns increased. Seven combined points from the Holiday brothers, four from Justin, grabbed Indiana its first lead after a complete frame on this road trip. With 25 seconds showing on the clock, Justin Holiday nailed a pull-up jumper with confidence from the left side to give the Pacers a 30-24 advantage heading into the second.
The teams got off to another slow start in the second. A Doug McDermott 3-pointer from the top of the key at the 10:00 mark began the scoring, extending Indiana's lead to nine.
Later in the quarter, consecutive three-point plays from Sabonis, including a tough hook shot from the middle of the paint, gave the Blue & Gold a double digit lead, 39-28, with 7:27 remaining in the half.
Sabonis' continued physicality in the paint forced Ayton to commit his third foul with 4:34 left to play in the half. Ayton was forced to sit the remainder of the half.
But the speedy second unit of Phoenix clawed its way back into the game, earning several trips to the foul line. The Suns managed to trim Indiana's 11-point lead down to two, 43-41, on a pair of Elie Okobo free throws with 2:53 left in the first half.
Indiana speedily pushed its lead back to 10 behind a 6-0 spree in a 50-second span. However, the Suns managed to trim it back to six after scoring four points in the final 30 seconds of the quarter.
Early in the third, the Pacers managed to push their margin back to 10, 60-50, behind a Lamb floater at the 10:27 mark.
Two minutes later, the Blue & Gold extended its lead to 62-50, after Warren completed a smooth alley-oop layup off a T.J. McConnell lob that sailed gracefully over everyone except Warren.
On the other end, the stifling Pacers defense had kept the Suns to just two points over the first 4:37 of the frame.
With 6:20 remaining in the third and the Suns threatening to trim the lead back to single digits, Kelly Oubre Jr. attempted to slam the ball over the outstretched hand of Turner. Turner appeared to cleanly block the shot, yet was called for a shooting foul.
However, McMillan challenged the call. Upon further review, Turner had successfully swatted Oubre's attempt without grazing a single thing on Oubre's arm.
Then the Pacers put away the game.
Indiana used the turn of events to reel off a 9-0 run and increased its lead to 74-54 with 4:32 left in the third. Ayton attempted to stop the surge with a dunk on the other end, but the Blue & Gold rallied for seven more unanswered to push their lead to 25, 81-56, on back-to-back buckets from Warren.
Phoenix did close the quarter strong, outscoring the Pacers 9-2 over the final three minutes to trim the lead to 83-65 as the quarter expired. In addition, Aaron Holiday was assessed a technical for arguing an earlier foul call as the quarter expired. Jevon Carter sank the ensuing free throw before the fourth began to trim the lead to 17.
But Indiana paid no mind.
A 7-2 Pacers run soon pushed the lead back to 90-68 on a McDermott 3-pointer from the left wing with 10:17 to go.
A pair of Sabonis free throws then helped Indiana surpass the century mark, 101-76, with 5:55 remaining.
Playing with an obvious chip on his shoulder, Warren continued his stellar night late in the fourth to add some final touches. Back-to-back buckets from the former Sun with 4:18 remaining pushed Indiana's lead to 105-81, and it was clear the Blue & Gold were leaving with the victory.
With 2:01 to go, Goga Bitadze and JaKarr Sampson provided the final exclamation point on the game. Bitadze slid a bounce pass to Sampson in the paint. Sampson obliged with a thunderous right-handed jam to send the Pacers fans in Arizona home with a smile on their face.
Indiana hopes to use the momentum from this win to knock off the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
Inside the Numbers
T.J. McConnell finished with 10 or more assists for the second consecutive game. He also earned his second double-double of the season and finished with a game-high +/- rating of +27.
Indiana took care of the ball well, committing just nine turnovers while dishing out 26 assists.
The Pacers outscored the Suns in the paint, 58-40.
Myles Turner tallied a game-high four blocked shots.
You Can Quote Me on That
"As I told our guys, I loved the way we responded for 48 minutes. This is a scrappy team, they're going to play hard and I thought we were solid throughout on both ends of the floor. We established our defense. Offensively we had much better ball movement than last game, just a really good effort after a bad effort in Utah." – Pacers head coach Nate McMillan on the bounce-back win
"Absolutely it was different. Engaging with the fans a little bit, their reaction. There was a lot of emotions but as soon as the ball went into the air it was time to play basketball and that's all I was focused on. It definitely felt good to come back to a place where I spent my first five years. Like I said before, they gave me my start, they started my career. I'm very grateful for that and it feels good to get a win. Same approach as any other game to me. It's all basketball, it's all about hoops. It felt good to get a win." – T.J. Warren on coming back to Phoenix
"We had a day off, we got rest. I don't think anybody was happy with our performance in Utah so we watched a lot of film and we had to come out and bounce back and start this trip again on a good note. The bigs got in foul trouble early and we just wanted to put that pressure on them, to keep attacking." – Domantas Sabonis on tonight's game
Stat of the Night
The Blue & Gold held Phoenix to just 35.7 percent shooting while on the road. This is the lowest shooting percentage an opposing team has had at home against Indiana since Brooklyn shot 35.7 percent at Barclays Center on Nov. 18.
- T.J. Warren has scored 20 points or more in 21 games this season.
- Indiana is now 6-1 over their last seven games.
- Indiana has won five straight road matches in the series. The Suns' last home victory over the Pacers came on Dec. 2, 2014.
- The Suns shot 4-of-20 from beyond the arc, while the Pacers shot 9-of-20. This was just the second game in the NBA season where both teams attempted 20 or fewer 3-pointers. On Jan. 9, the Cavaliers and Pistons shot 20 apiece while playing in Detroit.
The Pacers continue their road trip against Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors on Friday, Jan. 24 at 10:30 PM ET.
After a five-game road trip, the Pacers will return home to host the Chicago Bulls at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 PM ET. All-Star guard Victor Oladipo plans to make his season debut that night. Find Tickets »
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