INDIANAPOLIS – Just last week, the Indiana Pacers (47-32) defeated a beaten up Golden State Warriors (57-22) squad in Oakland. Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all missed that matchup. Three of those stars (minus Curry) were back healthy for round two in Indianapolis on Thursday. It did not matter much to the Blue and Gold.
Powered by a spectacular shooting night from Bojan Bogdanovic (28 points, 11-for-13 from the field), Indy cruised to an impressive 126-106 victory over Golden State at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The win gives the Pacers the season sweep (2-0) versus the Warriors. Indiana becomes the first club to notch a season sweep over Golden State during Dubs head coach Steve Kerr‘s tenure, a tenure which includes a pair of NBA championships.
Now with an eye on the Eastern Conference standings, Indy is locked into finish in fifth place at worst.
Thursday’s win pulls the Pacers within a game and a half of the Philadelphia 76ers, but a Cleveland Cavaliers win over Washington keeps Indy two games back of the Cavs. Third-place Cleveland faces fourth-place Philly on Friday in a clash that could very well decide Indiana’s first round playoff opponent.
Despite winning by a cool 20-point margin, this win wasn’t all easy for Indiana.
Golden State started the night with a 5-0 lead, but the Pacers later went on a 14-2 run to go in front. The Warriors responded with a late 10-2 run, making the score 27-26 in favor of Indy after one.
The Pacers kept rolling in the second quarter, ultimately outscoring their opposition 35-25. An 11-2 run shot the Blue and Gold ahead by ten points and after leading by as many as 14, Indiana went into halftime with a 62-51 edge.
In quarter number three, Indy put up 35 more points. Victor Oladipo scored ten of his 21 points in the third, fueling the Pacers to a 20-point lead after three.
The Warriors quickly made things interesting in the final quarter, however. In usual Golden State fashion, the Warriors rattled off ten points in just over 90 seconds to open the fourth. That quieted the crowd at the Fieldhouse.
Indiana’s starters were back on the floor following that rugged start to the frame and that made a considerable difference. The Pacers used a 7-0 spurt to regain control of the contest, which ultimately grew to a 17-1 run.
That last massive run did the Warriors in and capped what was a very successful evening for the hometown Pacers.
In additon to Bogdanovic’s 28 and Oladipo’s 21, Thaddeus Young turned in 16 points and eight rebounds. Off of the bench, Domantas Sabonis scored 13 points and grabbed nine boards.
As for the Dubs, Durant finished with 27 points on an off night. The former MVP made just eight of 23 shot attempts, but did knock down all nine free throw attempts. Thompson (16) and Quin Cook (12) were the only other Warriors to score in double-figures.
The Pacers will now head north of the border to finish off the final back-to-back of their season. Friday’s ballgame against the East-leading Toronto Raptors is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.