The tough Indiana Pacers squad only had three home losses on the season coming into Tuesday night, but could the Golden State Warriors give them a run for their money at Bankers Life Fieldhouse?
The Pacers (46-14) boasts the best record in the NBA and looked to improve on an already outstanding home record. On the other hand, the Warriors (37-24) came into Indianapolis looking to stir up some trouble.
This contest was not the shootout that many people anticipated but there was more than enough action for fans to enjoy. A shooting guard matchup featuring Klay Thompson and Lance Stephenson was a pregame point of emphasis and for good reason. Both Stephenson and Thompson are regarded as two of the best on-ball defenders at the shooting guard position in the league. Despite Stephenson’s advantage in physicality over Thompson, Golden State’s long-range sniper had no problem putting the ball in the basket.
Thompson averages 17.8 points per game but he decided to go well above his average by dropping in 25 points against Stephenson and the Pacers. Thompson led the Warriors in scoring for the night and his 3-5 performance from three-point land prompted his team to shoot a blazing 10-20 from downtown.
Indiana was determined to improve on their home record and Paul George did everything in his power to get his guys the win. Golden State small forward Andre Iguodala had his work cut out for him because he had to chase Paul George around the entire game, which is not an easy task. George had 26 points and 12 rebounds. However, George shot 8-23 due to Iguodala’s hounding defensive effort.
Pacers power forward David West had a game-high 27 points and added 7 rebounds. West won the power forward battle against David Lee. Lee is normally a double-double machine but he only had 11 points and 5 rebounds to give to the Warriors.
Stephen Curry had a nice mix of stats with 19 points, 8 rebounds and six assists. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green carried the bench scoring by tallying 10 points each. These contributions were great and everything but honestly, the game was decided by Thompson in the end.
This tight contest was all knotted up at 96-96. The Warriors inbounded the ball with 10.9 seconds on the clock. For some reason, 6-foot-3 George Hill was guarding the 6-foot-7 Thompson. Thompson then rightfully put Hill in the post and went to work. Hill was, as TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal would say, “barbecue chicken”! Thompson backed him down, spun off Hill’s shoulder and drained a silky turnaround jumper to give the Warriors a 98-96 lead with only 0.6 seconds left. Paul George tried to answer Thompson’s shot with a three-point attempt but the shot hit the back off the rim and the game came to a close.
The Pacers had an amazing 29-3 record at home before this matchup but the Warriors did not back down from a team that was obviously heavily favored to win the game. Thompson was indeed the hero for the Warriors. On top of playing a game-high 41 minutes, Thompson led the Warriors in scoring and even knocked down a big game-winner for his squad. If the Warriors continue to pick up key wins against tough teams as they did on Tuesday night, their confidence could shoot through the roof before heading into playoff time.