OAKLAND, CA – The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors (54-20) looked a bit different on Tuesday night. No Steph Curry. No Kevin Durant. No Klay Thompson. No Draymond Green. Nonetheless, the shorthanded Warriors gave the Indiana Pacers (44-31) all they could handle.
Indiana outscored Golden State 24-11 in the fourth quarter, giving them the separation needed for a 92-81 win at Oracle Arena. It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but Indy gutted it out and ultimately took advantage of the absence of the Warriors’ four All-Stars.
Victor Oladipo was fantastic, recording a 24-point/six-rebound/six-assist stat line. Thaddeus Young also added a double-double of 17 points and ten boards.
The win, coupled with a Cleveland Cavaliers loss, has the fifth-place Pacers back within a half game of the Cavs for third in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers‘ win streak is up to seven games, however, meaning that Indiana is still percentage points behind the Sixers for fourth.
A 10:30 p.m. ET start time probably didn’t help the Pacers, who hadn’t played further west of the Central time zone since Jan. 19.
The Blue and Gold played ugly basketball in the first half of Tuesday’s contest. They scored just 18 points in the first quarter, trailing 27-18 after one. Indiana put up just 21 more in period number two and went into the break down by nine at 48-39.
Golden State never trailed in the first half and owned the glass, outrebounding Indy 31-17. The Warriors also turned away seven Pacers shot attempts, including three blocks from Jordan Bell.
Indy came out of the intermission playing inspired, though. A quick 11-2 run allowed the Pacers to even the score at 50. Then, a Bojan Bogdanovic triple at the 7:24 mark gave the visitors their first lead of the night.
Indiana went on to lead by as many as five points in the third, but the Warriors closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to grab a 70-68 edge after three. The Pacers did outscore Golden State 29-22 in the period, however.
The Blue and Gold then burst onto the scene to start the final quarter. Indy scored the first six points, gaining an upper-hand that they would not relinquish.
The Pacers never let the Warriors back in front in the fourth, despite the home team hanging around. Oladipo was the one to put Golden State away, nailing a jumper with 4:19 to give Indiana a nine-point cushion. His and-one layup then sent the Blue and Gold ahead by 11 points with just over a minute to play. That sequence also sent the hometown fans to the exits.
After missing the past six games with a left ankle sprain, Domantas Sabonis was back in action for Indiana on Tuesday. He turned in seven points (three-for-three shooting), five rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes played.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, a new big man went down with a sprained ankle as soon as Sabonis returned. Trevor Booker tweaked his right ankle in Tuesday’s first quarter and did not come back. His status is unknown.
The Pacers’ next stop on this road trip is Sacramento. Indy will face the Kings on Thursday, with tip slated for 10:00 p.m.