OKLAHOMA CITY — One could call the Indiana Pacers falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday a schedule loss. However, that wouldn’t be fair to Kevin Durant and company.
The Thunder took advantage of the Pacers playing their second game in as many nights and one that concluded a grueling Western Conference road trip for the Blue and Gold. After running away from the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, the Pacers offered little in terms of defense and nearly every possession offensively seemed to be a struggle.
Paul George recovered from a poor first half to finish with 32 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field. Only two other Pacers were able to reach double figures in scoring, as Roy Hibbert and David West added 12 and 11 points, respectively. Remove George’s shooting from the equation and the rest of the Indiana team posted a 32 percent mark from the field and connected on just three of their 15 three-point attempts.
Oklahoma City’s All-Star duo of Durant and Russell Westbrook tag-teamed the Pacers’ defense, as both combined for 62 points on 25-of-40 shooting, 18 assists, and 17 rebounds. Those two alone are a major reason why the Thunder could be matched up with the Pacers in the Finals if that scenario plays out for Indiana.
The 118 points the Pacers allowed to the Thunder were the most they’ve given up since January 4, 2012 against the Miami Heat, according to Royce Young of CBSSports.com.
Ultimately, this recent road trip has to be considered some what of a success for the Pacers, as they finished at 3-2. Four of the five opponents for Indiana on the trip (removing the Utah Jazz) have a combined 60-20 record this season. Those four teams happen to be sitting in the first four spots in the Western Conference standings.
The Pacers and Thunder won’t meet again until April 13, which will be Game 81 of 82.
Brandon Curry is the Pacers Beat Writer at the Indy Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Pacers and has full media access. Follow Brandon and the ISRon Twitter.
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