Coming off a four-game Western Conference road trip, it might be natural for an ordinary NBA team to show some signs of fatigue in their first game back in Indiana.
But this Pacers team is anything but ordinary.
Indiana (47-32) dominated the defending champion Golden State Warriors (57-22) on Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, cruising to a 126-106 victory.
Bojan Bogdanovic made 11-of-13 shots — including 6-of-7 from 3-point range — and scored 28 points for the Pacers, who continue to chase a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference and homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
All-Star guard Victor Oladipo was his usual brilliant self, racking up 21 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
"Since the All-Star break, we're playing playoff basketball against everybody because all of them are fighting for position in both the East and West," Bogdanovic said. "I think we're doing a great job and we’re ready for the playoffs."
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The Warriors took an early 9-4 lead before the Pacers surged ahead with a 14-2 run. Golden State answered with a 10-2 run of its own, but Indiana held a narrow 27-26 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Lance Stephenson provided a nice spark for the home team in the second quarter, bringing his trademark energy and playmaking off the bench. Stephenson stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, and three assists in barely over 10 first-half minutes.
The Pacers used an 11-2 run to open up a 10-point lead in the second quarter and led by as many as 14 points in the frame, taking a 62-51 lead into halftime.
The Blue & Gold continued to dominate to start the third quarter, with Oladipo pushing the pace and scoring 10 points in the period. Indiana outscored the Warriors 35-26 in the frame to take a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Golden State mounted a quick rally, however, as former NBA MVP Kevin Durant scored six quick points and then Shaun Livingston got a run-out dunk over the first 1:05 of the fourth quarter, forcing Pacers head coach Nate McMillan to call a timeout.
McMillan elected to sub starters Oladipo, Bogdanovic, and Thaddeus Young back into the game. They stabilized things on both ends of the floor, forcing stops on five straight Warriors possessions as the Pacers scored seven straight.
After Durant made a technical free throws, Oladipo dished to Domantas Sabonis in the high post, who found a cutting Thaddeus Young on the baseline for a thunderous, one-handed slam. After another stop, Young pushed the break and found Bogdanovic in the corner for a transition three that pushed the lead back to 21 and sent the sellout crowd into hysterics.
That forced a Golden State timeout, but the Pacers weren't finished, adding another Bogdanovic three and then an Oladipo steal and slam to cap a 17-1 Pacers run, the exclamation point on one of the most impressive wins of the season.
"I think we did a great job of just coming out and playing our game, playing our pace," Oladipo said. "We defended at a high level and any time we do that, we will be successful, so we just have to continue to play well on defense."
Three other Pacers players joined Oladipo and Bogdanovic in double figures in the win. Young tallied 16 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Darren Collison added 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists, while Sabonis chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds.
Durant led the Warriors with 27 points, five rebounds, and seven assists, but shot just 8-for-23 from the field and 2-for-10 from 3-point range. All-Star guard Klay Thompson scored all 16 of his points in the first half.
Though the Pacers beat the Warriors last week in Oakland, Golden State was without Durant, Thompson, and fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green in that game due to a rash of injuries. All of them except Curry were back in the lineup on Thursday.
"I really was looking forward to playing them with their roster tonight, just to see where we were," McMillan said. "That's a really good team. I thought our guys responded to the challenge of the things we needed to do defensively."
The Pacers will head to Toronto on Friday to take on the East-leading Raptors at 7:30 PM ET to conclude their final back-to-back of the season.
Inside the Numbers
Bogdanovic's six 3-pointers matched his season high and his 28 points were one shy of his season best. The Pacers are now 12-3 on the season when Bogdanovic scores 20 or more.
Oladipo did not have a steal until the fourth quarter, but recorded three in the final frame to extend his franchise-record streak of games with at least one steal to 62, one behind Gary Payton for fifth on the all-time list. He has had at least three steals in six consecutive games, also a franchise record.
The Pacers outscored the Warriors 56-40 in the paint and 29-10 on the fastbreak.
Indiana went 15-for-29 from 3-point range as a team. It was the most threes the Pacers have made in a game since they hit the same number in a win over Chicago on Jan. 6.
Two-way guard Quinn Cook scored in double figures for his 12th straight game, finishing with 12 points and six assists.
You Can Quote Me On That
"Bojan and Victor create opportunities. Victor in the pick-and-roll and in transition, Bojan spreads the floor. We wanted to make Klay (Thompson) and Kevin Durant defend tonight, so we were running a lot of sets at those two guys. Our guys did a good job of getting screens and making those guys work, and our guys were knocking down shots." -McMillan
"The win feels great but it's just one win. Like I told them out there after the game, we have a lot more goals and a lot more things we want to accomplish. We just have to continue to get better." -Oladipo
"I think first of all we did a great job defensively. Our point guards did a great job of controlling the tempo of the game, and that allowed us shooters to have a couple of wide open shots and we just have to hit those shots and we will have a chance to win the game." -Bogdanovic
"Yeah, I'm mad. I'm embarrassed. I know this game doesn't mean anything in the seeding, but the playoffs start next week. It was an embarrassing effort. Pathetic effort." -Warriors head coach Steve Kerr
"Yeah, I mean he's the head coach. He has the right to do that. He sat there the whole game and watched it right in front of him. We have to be better. Tonight, there was not enough intensity. They were playing playoff basketball and we weren't." -Livingston on Kerr's comments
Stat of the Night
The Pacers had a .538 field goal percentage in Thursday's win and are 22-1 on the season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
- The Pacers have now swept the season series with the Warriors for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign.
- Indiana is the only team in the NBA to sweep the Warriors this season and the first Eastern Conference team to sweep Golden State since Charlotte in the 2013-14 season.
- Kerr and Oladipo both picked up technical fouls in the game, while Cook was given a flagrant foul in the third quarter.
The Pacers head to Toronto to take on DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors on Friday, April 6 at 7:30 PM ET.
The Pacers host the Charlotte Hornets for Fan Appreciation Night on Tuessday, April 10 at 7:00 PM ET. It is also a Hickory Night and the eight IHSAA boys and girls state basketball champion teams will be honored at halftime. Find Tickets »
Pacers Team Store Game Night Special
Pacers Nation T-Shirt - $15. The Game Night Special can be purchased at the Pacers Team Store on game day, as well as online from 10:00 AM-Midnight. Order Online »