Pacers vs Suns

Game Recap: Suns 125, Pacers 117

The Suns defeated the Pacers, 125-117. Mikal Bridges recorded a career-high 34 points for the Suns, while Devin Booker added 25 points and seven assists in the victory. Domantas Sabonis tallied 28 poi

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Game Recap: Suns 125, Pacers 117

The Suns defeated the Pacers, 125-117. Mikal Bridges recorded a career-high 34 points for the Suns, while Devin Booker added 25 points and seven assists in the victory. Domantas Sabonis tallied 28 poi
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:01

Sabonis burns Suns for 28 points, 22 rebounds

Domantas Sabonis Posts 28 points & 22 rebounds vs. Phoenix Suns, 01/09/2021
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:01

Sumner with the Tricky Layup

January 9, 2020: Edmond Sumner gets a tough layup to go.
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:09

Oladipo's Big Slam

January 9, 2020: Victor Oladipo throws down a poster dunk.
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:07

Sabonis in the Paint

January 9, 2020: Domantas Sabonis drives to the paint for two.
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:06

Sumner Sneaks a Two

January 9, 2020: Edmond Sumner gets the bucket.
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:08

McDermott Buries a 3

January 9, 2020: Doug McDermott knocks one down.
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:09

Sabonis Step Back

January 9, 2020: Domantas Sabonis steps back and hits.
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:09

Turner with the Corner 3

January 9, 2020: Myles Turner sinks a 3-pointer from the corner.
Jan 9, 2021  |  00:07

Game Rewind: Pacers 117, Suns 125

Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Game Recap

For most of Saturday night, the Pacers and Suns traded blows in an entertaining showdown between two of the NBA's best teams over the first few weeks of the season.

The first half featured 14 lead changes and eight ties and Phoenix held a narrow three-point lead after a high-scoring third quarter.

But the Suns (7-3) broke the game open with an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter and never looked back, handing the Pacers (6-3) a 125-117 defeat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The loss spoiled a monster night from Domantas Sabonis, who recorded his ninth straight double-double to open the season. Double-double would be putting it mildly on Saturday, as Sabonis scored a team-high 28 points and matched his career high with 22 rebounds.

But the Suns, buoyed by a career-high 34 points from third-year forward Mikal Bridges, simply had more firepower.

Both teams got off to fast starts in a back-and-forth first quarter that featured nine lead changes and five ties. Bridges scored 15 points in the frame, but the Pacers used a balanced attack to take a 32-30 advantage into the second quarter.

Justin Holiday provided a big spark off the bench for Indiana in the first half, scoring seven points in each of the first two quarters. Holiday's 3-pointer with 4:48 remaining in the second quarter gave the Blue & Gold a 49-45 lead, but the Pacers did not make another field goal again until the final seconds of the half.

Phoenix surged ahead with an 11-1 run before Malcolm Brogdon hit a three with 6.2 seconds left to make it a 56-53 game at halftime.

Sabonis had just four points at halftime, but the All-Star big man came to life in the third quarter. Sabonis was dominant on the interior in the frame, racking up 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He pulled down six offensive rebounds in the frame and scored three times while drawing a foul.

"Just trying to be aggressive, getting some offensive rebounds, putbacks," Sabonis said of his mindset in the third quarter. "Guards were doing a great job of attacking the bigs. Any miss, I tried to clean it up. I didn't have a great shooting night, so just trying to clean it up and set great screens for my teammates."

Sabonis' outburst fueled a 34-point third quarter for the Pacers, but Indiana never led in the frame. The Suns extended their lead to eight points in the opening minutes of the second half and matched the hosts bucket for bucket in the frame on their way to a 34-point period of their own.

Phoenix took a 90-87 lead into the fourth quarter and had a 98-96 advantage at a television timeout with 8:37 left to play. Out of the break, Bridges hit a jumper and the Suns then quickly added four more points as a pair of Pacers turnovers led to fastbreak baskets by Devin Booker and Bridges.

Nate Bjorkgren took a timeout, but the Suns added to their lead after the break as Indiana struggled to score. A layup by Booker and a three from Bridges capped 11 unanswered points by Phoenix. The Pacers never threatened down the stretch.

"We would have liked to execute better there on the offensive end, but we need some more stops there," Bjorkgren said. "They hit some tough shots on us. If they do score, we've got to get it out of that net in a hurry and go and get in attack mode."

Brogdon finished with 12 points, six rebounds, and nine assists in the loss. Holiday scored 17 points off the bench, while Victor Oladipo added 16 points and six boards.

Myles Turner (15 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks) and Doug McDermott (12 points off the bench) also reached double figures for Indiana.

Booker finished with 25 points and seven assists for Phoenix. Cameron Johnson added 16 points off the bench while going 4-for-10 from 3-point range and Chris Paul tallied a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists.

The Pacers will hit the road for their next five games, flying to Sacramento on Sunday for the start of an imposing Western Conference road trip. Indiana will play the Kings on Monday night before visiting Golden State on the second night of a back-to-back. Visits to the Trail Blazers, Suns, and Clippers later next week will wrap up the road trip.

Inside the Numbers

Sabonis' 22 rebounds matched his career high set on Dec. 9, 2019 against the Clippers. Saturday was the first time in his career that Sabonis had 20 or more points and 20 or more rebounds in the same game.

While Brogdon and Oladipo combined for 38 points, both struggled from the field. The Pacers' starting backcourt was a combined 14-for-41 from the field. Oladipo finished the night 7-for-21, while Brogdon was just 7-for-20 despite making his last three attempts.

Turner kept his lead at the top of the NBA's shot-blocking charts with four more blocks. He has swatted four or more shots in five of Indiana's first nine games to start the season.

Bridges' 34 points surpassed his previous career high of 26, set in a game at Boston on Jan. 18, 2020. The Suns forward went 12-for-18 from the field and 6-for-8 from 3-point range on Saturday.

With Sabonis leading the way, the Pacers outrebounded Phoenix 52-40 overall and 13-4 on the offensive glass.

You Can Quote Me On That

"We're usually more active than that. Our deflections, our hands are usually much more active. I thought the effort was there. We just needed to juice it up there to try to create more turnovers." -Bjorkgren on allowing 125 points and forcing just three turnovers

"We've definitely got to be better in that area of the game. Three turnovers, that's just not Pacers defense. Credit them (for) making shots, but at the same time, we've got to wreak more havoc." -Turner

"The road is different. It's going to be way tougher...We're going to have to bring our A-game. It's five games in seven days, so we're going to have to be ready to play." -Oladipo on the upcoming road trip

"We've got to take care of our bodies, be healthy, be ready...We're going to have to come out and be really locked in. There's going to be a lot of different schemes, players that we're going to face. Coach likes to throw out a lot of different defensive schemes depending on who (the opponent) is. So we're going to have be just as locked in mentally as physically." -Sabonis

Stat of the Night

The Suns committed just three turnovers on Saturday. It was the second-fewest figure by a Pacers opponent since 1983-84, according to Basketball-Reference. Milwaukee had just two turnovers against Indiana on April 1, 2006.

Noteworthy

  • The Suns have won their last two meetings over the Pacers, who had won six straight against Phoenix prior to a loss in the NBA bubble in Orlando on Aug. 6.
  • Reserve guard T.J. McConnell missed Saturday's game after his wife Valerie gave birth to a baby boy on Friday night, the couple's first child.
  • Fourth-year guard Edmond Sumner was in the rotation for the first time this season, tallying four points and a steal in 6:10 off the bench.

Next Up

The Pacers head to Sacramento to take on Buddy Hield and the Kings on Monday, Jan. 11 at 10:00 PM ET.

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for upcoming Pacers home games from Jan. 24 through March 4 will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »





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