On Monday night the Indiana Pacers continued their hot stretch, this the Utah Jazz were the victim, downing the Jazz by a final score of 109-94.
How it Happened:
The Pacers were led yet again by hopeful first time All Star Victor Oladipo who netted 28 points on only 16 shots. Oladipo also finished the night with 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and hit 5 3 point shots in 35 minutes.
The Pacers jumped out to an 10 point lead after the first quarter, and only extended the lead from there. Up 20 points after 3 quarters the Pacers were able to rest some starters toward the end of the night, a nice luxery on the 2nd night of a back to back.
As a team, the Pacers shot 53% for the game, and hit a whopping 14 – 26 3’s. The Pacers going into the night were ranked as the 2nd best 3 point shooting team in the league, last night only bolstered that stat. They also had 26 assists while only committing 14 turnovers, and yet again were able to dominate the transition game 14 points to only 4 for the Jazz. Limiting the Jazz in transition and guarding the 3 point line (27.3%) were huge in the win, as those are plays that McMillan says can “allow the crowd to get into it”
Nate McMillan praised his teams “execution of the game plan”, and ability to control the pace of the game. Going into the game, McMillan stated that they did not want to get into an “up and down game”, rather they wanted to control the pace by executing on offense and playing solid on defense.
With last nights win, the Indiana Pacers are keeping pace with teams like the Miami Heat and Washington Wizards. Currently Indiana sits in the 6 seed position in the East, however they are only 2 games back from the 3 spot (Cavs), and 4 games away from 9. The East is a jumbled mess right now and it is vital that the Pacers continue their hot streak heading into the All-Star game in order to keep pace and move up in the standings.
The Indiana Pacers continue their west coast trip with a game in Portland Thursday Night at 10:00 pm. Portland is coming off a 17 point loss to the Timberwolves and are set to host the Suns tonight. Currently they are sitting at 22-21 , which has them 9th in the West. This game is extremely important to both teams, but perhaps more so the Trailblazers as they are trying to maintain position in the West. The Pacers have started out 2-0 on the 5 game swing out west, and will also visit the Lakers Friday night. 3-1 would be an impressive start on the road trip for a Pacers before they head to the Spurs on Sunday.