Thunder take on Sabonis and surging Pacers
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers
- The Pacers have won three games in a row and six of their last seven overall. Based on current records, Indiana has played the second-easiest schedule in the NBA, with its opponents combining for a .367 winning percentage; only Houston has played an easier schedule (.361).
- The Thunder are limiting opponents to 29.9-percent shooting from three-point range this season, second best in the NBA (Heat -- 28.0 percent). The Pacers rank last in the NBA in both three-pointers made per game (8.5) and three-pointers attempted per game (24.4).
- Malcolm Brogdon has assisted T.J. Warren 28 times, the most assists from one teammate to another this season. Brogdon has made each of his last 42 free-throw attempts, the longest active streak in the NBA.
- After averaging 10.8 points per game last season with the Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has upped his scoring average to 21.0 points this season with OKC. His 10.2-point increase in scoring average from last season to this season is the largest in the NBA (played in 70% of team games in both seasons).
- Domantas Sabonis recorded 21 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists in Indiana's 109-102 win over Orlando on Sunday. He became the first Pacer to reach those marks in a single game since Detlef Schrempf on December 21, 1992 (23 points, 17 rebounds & seven assists).
- The Pacers have won six straight home games against teams from the Western Conference and are 9-1 in their last 10 such games. Since the start of last season, Oklahoma City has an 11-4 record on the road against Eastern Conference foes.
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
The Indiana Pacers have reversed course from a slow start to the season by winning six of their last seven games, and they've used a balanced effort to do it.
The Pacers aim to continue their ascent Tuesday night when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Indianapolis.
Sure, Domantas Sabonis recorded his fourth straight double-double with a team-high 21 points and 16 rebounds in Indiana's 109-102 victory over Orlando on Sunday, but the power forward wasn't alone.
T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon each added 19 points, while Doug McDermott (18 points) and T.J. McConnell (12 points, eight assists) contributed off the bench.
"I thought both groups (starters and reserves) were solid, but you need your second group to play like these guys have been playing," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. "We had good ball movement, our guys were sharing the ball and defending hard. When you do that, you're going to be tough to beat."
Indiana has been tough to beat as it waits for All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to return following knee surgery and center Myles Turner to come back from an ailing ankle.
"Everybody's excited for the game. Can't wait to go out there and play," Sabonis told the Indianapolis Star. "Everyone is having fun. Everyone is contributing. It's fun to be out there.
"The bench, they're amazing the last four or five games. Everybody is finding each other. We can get the shots we want. We just got to lock in on defense."
Oklahoma City features a balanced attack of its own, however the club saw its three-game home winning streak come to a halt with a 121-119 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday.
Dennis Schroder came off the bench to shoot 9 of 12 from the field for a team-high 25 points, with three timely 3-pointers included in the mix.
"I thought (Sunday) as the game went down to the end, he's so cagey out there," forward Mike Muscala said of Schroder, per The Oklahoman. "He hit those 3s. Just competing every play, and I think that's why he's so hard to guard."
Muscala did him one better by making four shots from the beyond the arc in the first half to improve to 7 for 14 from 3-point range since beginning the season mired in a 1-for-19 rut.
Muscala's performance boosted a short-handed Thunder club that was without center Steven Adams for the third time this season with a left knee contusion.
"I don't think it's serious," Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. "I think he's been dealing with it for a little bit of time. ... When he came back to play, I think it was a little bit sore. I kind of made the comment before the game that I fully anticipated him playing. But I think with where he's at physically right now, it's probably better off for him to sit out instead of having this linger."
Nerlens Noel drew the start in place of Adams, scoring 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting while blocking two shots. Seven OKC players scored in double figures.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 12, 2019