The Indiana Pacers wanted to build on their emphatic 115-97 win over the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers on December 31. Standing in their path were the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, the Denver Nuggets.
The game was the Pacers’ first of the new calendar year and Indiana got off to a fast start behind a balanced scoring attack. Small forward T.J. Warren scored eight points in the game’s first five minutes for an early 16-6 lead.
The Pacers continued to build on that advantage as Jeremy Lamb nailed a three-pointer less than two minutes later to give Indy a 24-10 lead.
Denver hung tough behind the timely shooting of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr. Nonetheless, the Pacers led after one quarter, 37-27.
Indiana continued to hold serve during the first seven minutes of the second quarter. However, the Nuggets, behind the exploits of Will Barton, trimmed the deficit to just two at halftime, 64-62.
In the second half, it was all Denver. Gary Harris made a layup off a Jamal Murray assist to knot the count at 70 apiece – the game’s first deadlock. Thirty seconds later, Harris knocked down a triple to give the Nuggets their first lead of the contest.
Monte Morris scored the last five points of the third quarter to give Denver a 92-88 lead heading into final 12 minutes. The Nuggets would never relinquish that lead in the fourth quarter. They held on to win, 124-116.
Porter was the star of the show with 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting. Murray and All-Star center Nikola Jokic each scored 22 points for Denver.
Lamb led the Pacers with 30 points. Myles Turner had 21 points while T.J. Warren had 20. Domantas Sabonis chipped in with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Trae Young’s 41 Points Too Much for Pacers
The Indiana Pacers survived Trae Young’s 49-point scoring binge at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 30, eking out a slim 105-104 win.
Not this time.
Young, the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer (28.9 ppg), scored 41 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 116-111 win over the visiting Pacers on January 5. The diminutive point guard scored 30 points in the first half.
Indiana’s slow start proved costly. The Pacers allowed the Hawks to score 43 points in the first 12 minutes of play. Young scored 18 points in the first quarter alone. Even 42-year-old Vince Carter got in on the act, drilling a three-pointer to give Atlanta a 33-14 lead.
The Pacers made amends in the second quarter, limiting the Hawks to just 21 points. Big man Domantas Sabonis scored nine of his team-high 25 points during that span.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the second half. Hawks shooting guard Kevin Huerter scored 12 points in the third quarter. Atlanta led after 36 minutes of play, 96-95.
The Hawks led by just two late in the game when Young’s driving layup gave his team a 113-109 lead. He made three free throws in the waning moments to clinch the win.
Huerter complemented Young nicely with 26 points. The duo combined for nine three-pointers. Justin Holiday came off the bench to score 18 points (including four-of-six shooting from three-point territory) for Indiana.
T.J. Warren Waxes Hot as Pacers Beat Hornets on the Road
With the loss to the Hawks, the Indiana Pacers have lost five of their last seven games. They needed a spark in a big way. T.J. Warren gave them that lift.
Warren, a North Carolina native, scored a season-high 36 points to help the Pacers beat the Charlotte Hornets on the road, 115-104, on January 6. It was Indiana’s second win over Charlotte in three games this season.
Warren scored on an array of jumpers and twisting layups with family and friends in attendance at the Charlotte Coliseum. Despite missing starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon for the third straight game due to a back injury, Indiana held serve mainly behind Warren’s exploits.
The Hornets led at halftime, 44-42. The second half was a barnburner. Warren scored 13 points in the third quarter to help the visiting squad pull away for good. Indiana outscored Charlotte during that span, 37-21.
The Pacers’ passing game was also on point as they had 31 assists. Domantas Sabonis and T.J. McConnell both had seven assists for Indiana.
For the Hornets part, they scored 39 points in the fourth quarter, to no avail. Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 28 points while Devonte Graham added 22.
Sabonis complemented Warren nicely with another double-double (18 points and 12 rebounds). Center Myles Turner had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks for the Pacers.
Pacers Odds Trend Down Against A Young Miami Heat Squad
The Indiana Pacers seek redemption when they square off against a young and talented Miami Heat team at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 8.
The Heat (26-10) have the Eastern Conference’s third-best record. If the playoffs were to begin today, they would have homecourt advantage against Indiana in the first round. Miami beat Indiana on Goran Dragic’s basket with 6.8 seconds left on December 28, 113-112.
The Blue and Gold will rely on the likes of T.J. Warren (18.3 ppg) and Domantas Sabonis (17.8 ppg, 13.0 rpg) once again. Point guard Malcolm Brogdon remains questionable, so Aaron Holiday will start in his place.
As for the Heat, they will lean on guys like Kendrick Nunn (15.4 ppg), Bam Adebayo (15.6 ppg), and Tyler Herro (13.3 ppg) once again.
The Pacers remain the underdogs against the Heat because of the latter’s better record. Plus, Indiana hasn’t beaten Miami this season. Thus, Pacers odds, Pacers moneyline, and Pacers over/under are stacked against the home team. Nonetheless, expect a down-the-wire finish between the two teams.