INDIANAPOLIS – That’s a lot of anxiety for a Monday night.
But at least Pacers fans went to bed seeing their team pull off a wild comeback victory to start the week.
Down double-digits to the Pelicans (4-3) in the final minutes of regulation and still trailing by 6 points with 20 seconds to go, the Pacers (5-2) somehow found a way to force overtime.
In OT, with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner fouled out, a game-winner from Malcolm Brogdon sent the Pacers home winners, feeling like they stole one in their first Western Conference win of the season.
The 118-116 overtime win came with Nate Bjorkgren letting Brogdon handle the final possession on his own, with the Pacers electing not to take a timeout.
“Coach trusts me with the ball,” Brogdon said after the Pacers moved to 5-2. “He wanted me to get it, get to my spot and make the last shot. I got to my spot and it dropped.”
Per ESPN Stats and Info, teams leading by at least 6 points with less than 25 seconds to go in regulation were 8,104-2 over the past 10 seasons.
Oladipo led the Pacers with 25 points and sparked the wild sequence to end regulation.
It was a deep Oladipo 3 that initially cut the score to 106-103 with 20.5 seconds to go. Oladipo then forced a steal as the Pelicans tried to get the ball past midcourt. A frantic sequence saw a trailing Turner stepping into a game-tying three-pointer with 8.2 seconds to go.
Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (31 points) missed a challenged 21-footer and the game was into overtime.
Oladipo and Turner each scored 10 points in overtime, leading to Brogdon’s floater for the win.
Brogdon finished with 21 points, 7 rebound and 11 assists. Sabonis had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists before fouling out late in the 4th quarter. Turner added 17 points and 3 blocks.
The Pacers did get outrebounded by 15, including 11 on the offensive glass.
Three Things Learned
1. More Three-Point Line Usage: Looking back on Monday’s box score you’ll see more of the Nate Bjorkgren philosophy that we thought would be there. The Pacers attempted 45 three-point attempts (making 19 of those), with 32 assists. Facing a team with strong paint presences, the Pacers did not hesitate from long distance with 4 guys attempting at least 6 three-pointers (Victor Oladipo: 5-of-11, Malcolm Brogdon: 4-of-9, Doug McDermott: 3-of-7, Justin Holiday: 3-of-6). Now 7 games into the season, we hadn’t seen the Pacers take a major uptick in three-point attempts consistently to start the season. They did that on Monday though and this will always be something we watch this season.
2. Bjorkgren’s Touch: You listen to Malcolm Brogdon at any chance this season and he’ll go out of his way to praise Nate Bjorkgren. Brogdon did it again following Monday’s wild finish. It was Bjorkgren instilling the ‘don’t give up’ mindset in the game’s closing minutes. Then in overtime, with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner fouled out, Bjorkgren didn’t take a timeout and allowed Brogdon to go to work against a more offensive minded Pelicans group out there, with them not having the chance to sub some of their better defenders into the game, or just set their defense.
3. Replacing T.J. Warren: We need to mention that the loss of T.J. Warren (foot) is significant with his return not likely for some time. In missing Warren, the Pacers are without such a trusty and reliable scorer. When in scoring ruts, Warren has the ability to bail you out. It looks like filling the minutes for Warren will be very much by a committee approach. Aaron Holiday is starting but not logging the most minutes with Nate Bjorkgren going to Justin Holiday and Doug McDermott much more in 4th quarters. If Jeremy Lamb can get back this month, he should factor into this situation, potentially in a big way.
Pacers Upcoming Schedule
-Rockets (Wednesday, 1-6 at 7:00 PM)
-Suns (Saturday, 1-9 at 7:00 PM)
-@Kings (Monday, 1-11 at 10:00 PM)
-@Warriors (Tuesday, 1-12 at 10:30 PM)
-@Trailblazers (Thursday, 1-14, at 10:00 PM)