After an inspiring win over the Miami Heat on New Years Eve, the Indiana Pacers split their most recent four-game trip. A 117-102 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday was preceded by two tight wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz, and a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers that the Pacers likely would like to have back.
On Wednesday, the Pacers had no answer for Golden state guard Klay Thompson. Thompson poured in 40 points on 14-of-25 shooting including six 3-pointers. Thompson’s ability to run off screens and create enough breathing room to get off his shot had the Pacers chasing him for much of the night. Whether it was Solomon Hill, C.J. Miles, or another Indiana wing defending him, Thompson wasn’t affected.
The Pacers entered halftime against the league’s best team in terms of overall record tied at 50. But the second half was dominated by Thompson and the Warriors, as Golden State shot over 60 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from behind the arc. Not to mention, they got to the free-throw line 12 times and made nine of them. Overall, they scored 67 points in the second half.
Although Indiana’s offense was solid early against one of the NBA’s best defenses, the turnovers killed any potential rally. The Pacers had many turnovers where there was no chance of getting back on defense and stopping a Golden State fast break. The Warriors had 28 transition points, while the Pacers coughed it up 17 times.
Roy Hibbert left the game midway through the first period after spraining his left ankle — the same ankle he flipped earlier in the season that caused him to miss some games. He did return the bench in the second half, but didn’t play.
The Pacers were led by Solomon Hill with 21 points, while C.J. Miles, who had been the team’s most potent scorer over the road trip, struggled. Miles scored just 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
Indiana currently sits two games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference — behind the Miami Heat. They return home to play Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics on Friday.