Meshed between home games was a date on the road for the Indiana Pacers with the league’s best offensive team, Oklahoma City. A clash that put the league’s best defense (Pacers) up against an intimidating scoring attack ended in a 104-93 defeat for Indiana, thanks in large part to the shooting of OKC’s Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Martin.
The blue and gold played well throughout most of the night, falling behind by double digits more than once and using strong defensive focus to get themselves back in the game. In the end, however, the Thunder were able to pull away as the Pacers simply could not keep up on the offensive side of the ball.
Admittedly so, not many teams could have kept this one close the way Indiana did. Oklahoma City shot nearly 49% from the field for the game and hit 25 of 30 free throw attempts, 83 percent. The Pacers only got to the charity stripe 13 times, connecting on 11 of those, but thus were outscored by 14 points in that category.
One coud argue that to be the difference in the game. One could also argue that Durant and Westbrook are nearly impossible to stop on a nightly basis due to their length and athleticism.
The Indiana Pacers tried their best with defensive specialists in the George’s – Paul George and George Hill – but ultimately came up short on Sunday night.
Indiana was able to pull within four points twice late in the game, once at 84-80 and again at 88-84. Scott Brooks’ team then used a 16-9 run to close the game with an 11-point victory.
Durant poured in a game-high 27 points, while Westbrook tallied up 21 points and Kevin Martin added 24 off the bench for the home team. 22 of Martin’s 24 points came in the first half when Durant and Westbrook struggled to find their rhythm.
Once the two did begin to put the ball through the net, there wasn’t much the Indiana Pacers could do about it.
Frank Vogel did get another solid game from veterans David West and George Hill, and Paul George also played effectively despite looking a little gassed while trying to slow Durant on the defensive end. George managed 17 points and eight rebounds; West and Hill posted 21 and 15 points, respectively.
It was the second straight loss for Indiana. The team returns home to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday to host the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers, losers of five straight.