Pacers Big Guys Step Up In Bounce Back Victory
Joe Robbins | Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS – The reeling Pacers entered Monday needed something to get back on track.
Seeing their starting backcourt appearing on the inactive list wasn’t the way to start the final two weeks of the season.
But the Pacers finished Monday with an old school style victory, led by a dominating frontcourt and some important bench minutes.
That led to a 111-102 victory over the Detroit Pistons (39-38) on Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“It’s good to talk about a win,” Nate McMillan said after the Pacers ended their three-game losing streak. “We played our game. I thought we got off to a slow start in that first quarter (then) the second unit came in and brought some intensity and we were able to turn the game around. And we went from there, playing our game, very aggressive on the ball, forcing misses. We did a good job of taking the ball, rebounding the basketball and getting out in transition.”
With Darren Collison and Wesley Matthews both sidelined due to respective injuries, the Pacers (46-32) relied on a punishing brand of basketball on Monday.
The Pacers outscored the Pistons 52-34 in the paint and took advantage of a Blake Griffin-less Detroit squad.
Myles Turner (17 points, on 5-of-7 shooting, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks) more than held his own against the physical Andre Drummond (18 points, on 8-of-18 shooting, 17 rebounds and 0 blocks).
Even with two normal reserves in the starting lineup, the Pacers bench was huge on Monday.
A sluggish start for Indiana, with the Pacers down 11 points in the first quarter, quickly turned around once McMillan went to his reserves.
Domantas Sabonis was his typical self (18 points and 12 rebounds). Doug McDermott scored 11 points, putting the ball on the floor for important buckets in the final quarter. And rookie Aaron Holiday stepped up with 10 points and 5 assists.
“I think he’s going to be a really good guard in this league,” McMillan said of Holiday after the win. “He’s going to be here to play and help us. He keeps himself ready to play and when he’s called upon, he’s played solid minutes for us. I thought he did a solid job. We kept him in there and he did a good job of keeping (Reggie) Jackson in front and running the offense for us.”
It was the Indiana bench which helped spearhead a second-quarter rally. The Pacers outscored the Pistons 36-22 in the second, to take a 59-55 lead into halftime.
Indiana lost that lead for a few minutes in the third quarter, before the bench again got things back in order.
The Pacers and Pistons will meet again on Wednesday, closing the season series in Detroit.
Three Pacers’ Takeaways:
-Pacers Go Old School: For a team down arguably their 3 best guards on Monday, the Pacers went old school with their style. They pounded the paint and found tremendous success relying on their 3 main big guys. Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis and Thaddeus Young combined to go 21-of-29 from the floor for 55 points and 27 rebounds. That trio was a huge reason why Indiana won the points in the paint 52-34 over the Pistons, who were without Blake Griffin (knee). Turner’s night should also be noted for his stellar rim protection. He had 5 blocks and contributed to Andre Drummond going just 8-of-18 from the floor. It’s nights like Monday that shows what Turner is capable of against some of better big men in the league. Indiana had to adapt on Monday, and it relied on their beef down low for the victory.
-Aaron Holiday Steps Up With Backcourt Injuries: The injury report was bleak for Indiana on Monday. Darren Collison (groin) and Wesley Matthews (hamstring) both were out, as Indiana had to adjust majorly with their backcourt minutes against Detroit. Veterans Cory Joseph and Tyreke Evans were elevated to the starting lineup, which opened up their normal reserve minutes for Aaron Holiday. The rookie delivered with 10 points (3-of-4 shooting), 5 assists and 2 turnovers. When Holiday has received run lately he’s been much more consistent, compared to some mid-season struggles he was having. When Collison and Matthews are healthy, it’s difficult to see Nate McMillan turning to Holiday on a routine basis. But with Joseph’s shooting issues lately, the thought has to at least be creeping into the head coach’s head. On Monday, McMillan stuck with Holiday late into the 4th.
-Status Quo With Four To Go: With the Pacers and Celtics controlling homecourt on Monday, these two teams remain tied in the standings going into the final four games of the season. Boston holds the current head-to-head tiebreaker, thanks to a 2-1 season series lead. Friday’s matchup in Indiana between these two teams will have huge implications on who ultimately has homecourt with both teams scheduled to play each other in Round One. Boston closes the season with these 4 games: at Heat, at Pacers, Magic and at Wizards. It will be Pacers/Celtics in Round One. But who will have homecourt remains an uncertainty.
Pacers Remaining Schedule
-at Pistons (Wednesday, 4/3)
-Celtics (Friday, 4/5)
-Nets (Sunday, 4/7)
-at Hawks (Wednesday, 4/10)